Back to Basics Sales Strategies, Post Call Follow Up Worksheet

Whether you’re just starting out in Sales or are a seasoned professional, the basics are still vital to your success. Since most companies focus their training efforts on product and market information and not best practices for salespeople, it falls to you to make your own way. Developing good basics, like scales on the piano or free throws in basketball, is vital. Practicing good basics hones the skill and increases the income of even the most experience salesperson.

The entire sales or contact management process is important, of course, but one area where a fractured or inconsistent approach can hurt the most is in doing post call follow up. The unusual thing about follow up is that even most sales management pros have a tendency to let things fall through the cracks. Sales and Management both focus almost completely on what happens during the sales call with recap questions like:

  • Did you ask for the order?
  • How many times did you close?
  • What were the prospect’s objections?
  • What benefits did the prospect respond to?
  • When do you deliver the proposal?
  • When will we get the order?

There are only a few times you’ll typically find consistent interest in post call follow; when there’s an actual proposal or quote done or a sale made, or if the salesperson’s is forced into entering the customer information into the marketing machine part of a CRM (Customer Relationship Management Software). There are real benefits to the latter for overall customer retention, but few that I’ve found for actually securing you a new customer or closing and individual deal. This is a big mistake! Companies spend large amounts of time and money to present salespeople with every opportunity. If the phone rings, if you get an unsolicited e-mail, this is your company’s marketing budget at work. If you make 30 calls today and set 3 meetings, it’s at least partially on the basis of your company’s infrastructure, product and dollars spent. Only focusing on following up on the prospects with potential of an imminent close is a shortsighted.

How you follow up on the prospects that don’t close on the spot will make a large difference on your future income. The appropriate follow up is going to depend on what happens during your call or meeting, so it’s important you go in with the end in mind; bring your Post-Call Planning Worksheet with you into the meeting! Add this to your pre-call sheet covered in this previous article: Back to Basics Sales Strategies, The Pre-Call Planning Worksheet. They’ll both help you gather the right information and position your follow up during the meeting. We’ve talked about CRM in both articles now, and you MUST use something to make consistent follow up possible, so check out Capsule, they’ve got a very simple easy to use interface that’s good for salespeople.

Post-Call Planning Worksheet

  1. What’s the prospect’s preferred follow up method?
    1. Agree on follow up with your customer DURING the meeting.
    2. E-mail, phone call, mail, carrier pigeon, candy-gram?
    3. What is the agreed upon date for your first follow up?
      1. What’s the reason for the delay in getting the business? This will determine the date.
      2. Inclusion strategy
        1. Who’s involved in the decision that wasn’t present? How can you follow up with them?

                                                               i.      If the prospect won’t give you a list of e-mails, ask if they’d mind if you wrote them one each and if you could e-mail to the prospect for forwarding. I’ve gotten great response with this!

  1. How often should you follow up and how? Example
    1. 3 days later an e-mail thanks
    2. 3 weeks later a phone call
    3. Every 90 days from then on via e-mail
    4. Phone call every 4 months
    5. What do you want to accomplish with each follow up?
      1. Set a meeting with real decision makers?
      2. See if competition has dropped the ball yet?
      3. Introduce new product that might fit better?
      4. Inform of price or terms change?

This is not, of course, a definitive list, but you’d do well to take the ideas to heart. Proper follow up is far easier with the advent of good contact management software, so plug in ALL OF YOUR POST-CALL FOLLOW UPS after each call!