Wouldn’t it be great if every call you made resulted in a sale? But, that’s not real-world thinking, is it? The fact is that not every prospect is ready to buy now. Equally, your proposition may not be right for that customer. They may be entrenched with your competitor. Or, they may have a perfectly functioning solution. Perhaps they do it in-house.
The reality is that there are lots of reasons why customers don’t buy. Sometimes, sadly, it will down to your own approach. There will be busy people that simply have no time to even consider new suppliers of solutions. And, that’s even before the challenges of voicemail, out of office and gatekeeper blocks that serve to slow you down.
Given that only a small percentage of prospects are likely to be in the market for your products and services right now, it’s the good business practice to have a process for following up and pursuing those leads until they go one way or another.
So, what are the key things you need to consider?
Set a calendar date
If you want effective results from telemarketing, you must be prepared to follow up all the way to the end. A telemarketing fundamental is setting a calendar date for the next call. This kind of process is the lifeblood of successful telemarketing lead generation. It’s a huge waste of time and money when a good prospect conversation leads to an agreement to call back at a contract renewal time and, for whatever reason, the call-back is forgotten.
Follow-up and call back when you say you will and keep doing so until either the lead generates a next step (e.g. a demo, face-to-face appointment, etc) or converts to business or it becomes clear that no business will be forthcoming.
Of course, the lead needs to be worth it. You need to consider the cost of the sale and the value of the sale to warrant ongoing follow-u. Assuming the lead is indeed worthwhile, this could be a long gestation or a short one dependent upon the clients’ requirements.
Have appropriate materials to send
But it isn’t just the phone call that’s important in terms of follow-up. Effective follow-up also includes having appropriate and tailored information available for prospects that want to see something either by post or by email straight after the call. And, don’t forget to make sure the information you send is not bland. It needs to be relevant and benefits-focused.
Prompt emails and meeting confirmations
This may sound basic but you need to ensure that emails and meeting confirmations go out promptly. Prospects are busy and once you come off the phone to them, they move on to the next task. A swift email to confirm the conversation and the appointment secures the opportunity. Likewise, a calendar invitation will lock the appointment in their diary. The risk is that you’ll get a ‘no-show’ if you don’t bother and leave this to chance on the day. Likewise, if the meeting is a few weeks ahead and you leave it to call to confirm the day before, there’s a real chance they will have forgotten and may find a reason to cancel.
Prepare in advance
This may also be obvious. However, it pays to review the prospect’s website. It also may help if you check the person out on LinkedIn. Perhaps connect with them on the platform in advance of the meeting. Even if it goes nowhere, you are connected and that’s useful for future communications. You can probably find out more about their business and what they’re saying on other social platforms too so don’t neglect Twitter, Facebook, and other relevant social media if they are using those channels.
Plan your meeting
Make sure that you don’t over-present. It’s much better to ask good questions, listen and understand than to try to dazzle the prospect with a PowerPoint presentation. Don’t forget crucially to agree on the next steps at the end of the meeting with an agreed time to call back as that’s probably the most vital part of your follow-up process.
Feedback to your telemarketer
One aspect of follow-up that’s often overlooked is the importance of providing appropriate feedback to your telemarketer following the meeting. Brief them on the outcome so the loop is closed. You, or they, can then update your CRM system with details about the meeting and add a next date that will trigger the subsequent follow-up. Feedback on the value of the meeting itself allows the caller to learn from your face-to-face experience. This helps them to improve their approach for future calls.
GSA helps businesses become more effective in their marketing and business development. We run outbound telemarketing campaigns into the UK, Europe, and further afield. Also, with our experience, we provide telemarketing training to help sales teams improve their results. If you’d like to know more, give us a call.