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Management Sales

Follow up to make the sale

This weekend, we drove to Seattle to look at a camper. Why? Because the only salesperson who followed up was in Seattle.

As I mentioned here a few months ago, I’m looking for a camper. I knew there was going to be some lead time due to current market conditions. I started placing phone calls back in December. I called people in Missoula, Boise, and Seattle.

At first, I got a few follow ups. I got a text message follow up from a guy in Missoula who offered to arrange a time for a tour of a unit. From Boise, I got a similar offer by email. Seattle emailed and left a phone message.

So a few weeks go by and it’s time to get things moving. The guy in Missoula said he’d be in touch about the date and time for a tour. He never called back or texted or emailed, so the tour never happened. After an initial few replies from the guy in Boise, he went silent as well.

But the kid in Seattle – and by kid I mean 30-ish – he kept following up. When he got something on the lot that matched what we were looking for he called and left a message. And then he emailed. That he did both is important.

Some people see emails every five minutes. Others see emails every five days. Some are in the middle of those two extremes. Some people don’t take unscheduled phone calls (like me). I didn’t tell him that.

He made sure that I got his message by leaving a message and emailing.

Consistent persistence

Because of his consistent but not annoying persistence, we drove all the way out to Seattle. Sure, it’s an easy drive and it gave me a chance to see Junior while on the way, but it was unnecessary, until it wasn’t.

We were going to go last weekend, but Snohomish got a ton of snow, which tends to turn Seattle a little crazy. So we backed off for a week. He still stayed in touch.

The day we showed up, his company was starting the move to a new location. While there was a bit of chaos from an entire company packing to move – he was there to help when we arrived.

I guess it seems obvious by now: Salespeople have got to follow up.
I checked back with the guy in Boise since he had followed up a few times a month earlier.

It turned out he didn’t have any stock. I expected him to circle back every couple of weeks. “Hey, we haven’t forgotten about you, but we don’t have anything right now” is enough.

His sales manager should expect that too. The prospect needs to know you’re still working to help them, even if you can’t help them right this minute.

Working to help customers is what salespeople do. They help people solve a customer’s problem, or their need or want.

I get curious.

This sales guy is no older than my boys. He’s been selling for five years. I told him he’d become the only one following up with us and that’s why we drove all the way to Seattle.

I asked him, “I suspect you have lots of people calling you because of the current lack of inventory. What do you do to manage all the different contacts, wants, and needs?”

I wasn’t sure what to expect.

“Well, I used to keep it all in my head. But then I figured out that didn’t help me very much. And it didn’t help our customers very much. And it didn’t help my sales at all, because there’s only so much you can remember at one time.”

“Now I have an Excel spreadsheet of all the people who are looking for a unit. It has their contact info, when I last contacted them, what kind of unit they want… that kind of stuff. When we get a new unit in, I can sort the list and figure out who to contact. It only takes a few seconds.”

“So that’s what I did with you when this unit came in. I sorted my list and you came up. So I gave you a call and sent you an email.”

Simple.

Since he started using this system he said he’s been much better at staying on top of prospects. People don’t fall through the cracks.

Your salespeople can do that too.

Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash