Tips on Following Up Business Calls

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shutterstock_138853538A follow up business call is as important as the initial call itself, and either failing to do so or getting it wrong is the cause of a great deal of lost business. This article provides some practical tips on following up business calls with the aim of closing the deal.

Why many people fail to follow up

Far worse than making a mess of your follow up call is not calling back at all, and there are several reasons why people fail to do so.

  • You forget – When you make a lot of business phone calls, it’s vital to be organised, so to avoid forgetting to make a call back you should write down the details the moment you get off the phone. Multiple callbacks should then be entered into a diary to ensure you don’t forget to make them.
  • You’re too busy – While not really an excuse, it does happen and again, organisation is the key. Callbacks should take priority over new calls or paperwork, as they represent potential sales.
  • You don’t want to appear too pushy – This is a common reason given, but is really a cop out. Even if you failed to make a sale on your first call, sales is about building relationships. You may also have more success the second time around, as the customer is already familiar with what you are offering and may have had time to think about it.

Tips for following up

Just as with cold sales calls, there are certain rules you need to observe when making a follow up call. These include:

  • Organise a date and time and remind the customer. Rather than saying you will call back in a couple of days, you should organise to call the customer back at a fixed time that is convenient for them. Then the day before, send them an email to remind them that you will be calling.
  • Be prepared – If the customer had doubts or reservations which prevented you from making a sale the first time, do your research before you make the follow up call so that you can alleviate those doubts.
  • Call when you said you would – Punctuality reflects well on you and shows respect for the customer’s time. Call exactly when you said you would, not a minute earlier or a minute later.
  • Don’t tell them, ask them – Pick up the thread of the conversation you were having during the first call and use interrogatory language.
  • Ask only open-ended questions – Questions that can be answered with yes or no are dead ends. Ask when, why, who or how questions, and you will get an answer every time.

A lot of business is lost because of poor or non-existent follow up. Always make a follow up call and you will be surprised at how much easier it will get and how many extra sales you manage to make.

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