How to get the most from follow-up calls

Let’s imagine that you’ve placed a great first call to a prospect… qualified them, generated interest, identified a need, sent the literature, and now it’s time to call back and close the sale.  It should be easy, and require little selling, right? WRONG!

Here’s one very important point regarding follow-up calls, and everything else will revolve around this point:  You need to do as much, or more selling on the follow-up call as you did on the initial call.

A mistake that even the best telephone sales reps make is that they assume the prospect will be ready to buy on the second call, because the first call went so well.  As a result, calls with opening statements similar to these are:


CALLER 1: “Hi Steve, this is Bill Scott at Allen Industries.  Do you have any questions on the information I sent you?”

CALLER 2: “Kathy, this is Mark Smith calling back from Gateway Supply.  Did you get the literature I sent?”

CALLER 3: “Mr. Webber, I’m Sue Chambers with Anthony Equipment.  I sent you our proposal, and was wondering what you thought about it.”


Those opening statements are horrible, since none state what is in it for the prospect, and they marginally explain the reason for the call.


Needs to Be as Strong as Initial Call

Your opening statement on the follow-up call needs to be as strong as your opener on the initial call you placed.  The reasoning is, that although you may have a vivid recollection of what you discussed on the first call, they might not even remember you right away.  They probably have spoken with 30 or 40 other sales people since then.  Therefore, on your follow-up call opening statement, you need to add one more component to the three questions you must answer for the prospect, and that is to remind them that you spoke before.  Even if you have a phone appointment, and they are expecting your call, remind them of what you discussed so that you can quickly move into the call.  For example:


CALLER: “Hello Mr. Whittaker, this is Tony Morris with Sales Doctor.  The reason for the call is to continue our conversation of last Monday, when we were discussing how you could increase your sales conversions by 10% with no increase in costs.  I’d like to go over three of the points I highlighted in the literature you were sent… is that package handy?”


With this opening, the caller identified herself; gave the reason for the call, which was to continue the conversation; reminded the prospect of what they spoke about the first time and mentioned a benefit; and, referred to the literature, and asked if it were handy.


Assume They Received Literature

Notice that the caller didn’t say. “did you get it?”, You should assume that they did receive your material.  Beginning a call with the poor examples we mentioned earlier is awkward, and leaves the caller nowhere to go.


As mentioned earlier, the most important point to remember about follow-up calls is that you need to continue selling.  After all, if they were ready to buy, they would have called you, right?  Too many sales people make the mistake of calling back, and hope that the prospect is going to say, “OK, it looks good, I’m ready to buy.”  That rarely is the case.

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