After the final presentation to your business clients, don’t simply wait to hear from them. It is important for you to be creative and maintain contact when they are making their decision.
The competitor who stays in touch with a client (all other factors being equal) has the best chance of closing a sale. As you stay in touch, you stay connected and gain important feedback to help you adjust your strategy to stay in the game and win.
As you stay in touch, you stay connected and gain important feedback to help you adjust your strategy.
Don’t be a pest
Of course, you don’t want to be a nuisance. Here are a few ways to stay on the client’s radar screen without becoming a pest:
- The first call: Your first contact is the thank-you call, made within one day of your presentation. Start the call with a positive thank you and compliment the client’s team or process. Use the call to get feedback on your presentation as well as competitors’ presentations. Use the feedback to reemphasize your points of advantage, highlight what has been accomplished so far and dispel any concerns the client has revealed.
During this call, check to see if the client has any additional questions or requires more information. Use that information to position your strengths and offset the competition. If necessary, leave a thank-you voice mail, but try to lead the client to get the feedback you need.
- Email or letter: Tailor your follow-up thank-you letters or emails to your client’s demands and send them within 24 hours.
- Check in: After the first follow-up call, maintain contact with the client. Find things of interest to him and use them as a reason to stay in touch. If nothing else, after a few days, check to see if the client has any additional questions. Repeat your ability, commitment and desire to work with him.
- Leverage your team: Maximize all contacts you have with the prospective company. In the sales phase, hopefully, you introduced your business partner or customer-service specialist to the prospect. If you didn’t you can still deploy them to help win the deal. A phone call from a partner to reiterate his commitment can be powerful. Be sure to brief your partner about the message you want conveyed.
- Be creative in finding centers of influence to contact, regardless of whether they are on your team or they belong to your client’s team or a third-party’s team. This is the time an internal client coach can become very useful—by giving you information, direction and insights and helping you maneuver through the process. An internal coach can be vital in competitive situations.
- Use social as well as business situations as reasons to call.
- After the presentation, keep track of your client’s decision-making process.
Update and check your voice mail. If a decision is imminent, give your client your cell phone number or the number where you can be reached. If you are out of the office and cannot be reached by cell phone (because you are traveling, for example), make sure your office is aware that a decision is being made and tell them how they can reach you if the client needs you. If you are not available, let the client know who is covering for you and that he is fully prepared to respond.
As you know, deals don’t just happen. You are the catalyst. The magic touch is staying in touch.
Linda Richardson, a consultant to corporations, banks and investment banks globally, has 25 years of sales development and training experience. She may be reached at 215-940-9255 or firstname.lastname@example.org.