How do you follow up with prospects who are interested but 'need to think further'?

18 replies
Recently I have someone made some calls to all the restaurants in my area to promote my mobile website. I clinched 3 appointments, went down, pitched but left without an order.

All three told me they are interested and would like me to send them the brochure (done with PDF) and they will get back to me.

I don't want to make them feel Iam desperate for their business but at the same time, I want to lose the deal as soon as possible.

How would you follow up on prospects who are interested but requires time to think further.
#follow #interested #prospects
  • Profile picture of the author Intensity
    Go in and try close them one more time. Pitch what your product can do for them again and thank them if you still walk away empty handed.

    Move onto the NEXT one!

    In my experience with sales, most weren't interested to begin with when they say "ill think about it". It's their polite and automatic way of saying not interested. Seriously, what's there to think about if you really convinced them you can make them money?
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  • Profile picture of the author misterme
    It's not a matter of following up. They already decided at the time you made your pitch. People don't all like to say no, so they say anything except "yes." And it's usually the same 3 or 4 things they say.

    So, that means you need to do better with everything that leads up to the decision. That means getting the right prospects, qualifying them, hitting the right points, differentiation, making the right offer and pre-empting the competition. Then closing the sale should come easier.
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Originally Posted by fated82 View Post

    Recently I have someone made some calls to all the restaurants in my area to promote my mobile website. I clinched 3 appointments, went down, pitched but left without an order.

    All three told me they are interested and would like me to send them the brochure (done with PDF) and they will get back to me.

    I don't want to make them feel Iam desperate for their business but at the same time, I want to lose the deal as soon as possible.

    How would you follow up on prospects who are interested but requires time to think further.

    Welcome to reality. Here is something I've learned after thousands of sales calls and thousands of sales (Way more sales calls than sales, by the way). They didn't buy when you were there because they didn't have enough desire to buy to say "Yes". The desire to buy never increases after you leave. It always decreases. That's why people don't buy later.

    Is three apointments your entire experience in selling?
    If it is, don't worry, It took me three weeks...with training, to close my forst sale. This is doing at least two full presentations a day.

    I don't want you to repeat that complete waste of time..but you need to learn more about how to actually sell.

    Ken Michaels is probably the best one here to talk about this. Along with John Durham, Jason Kanigan, David Miller, and a few others.

    Here are a few threads to get you started.

    http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...l-closing.html

    http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...bjections.html

    http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...s-closing.html

    http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...-training.html

    After you read all these posts, come back and ask questions. And keep going on appointments. If you stop, you will lose your momentum.

    Training doesn't stick if there is no current activity while learning.
    99% of any question you could ask are answered in the threads I just gave you.
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  • Profile picture of the author hayfj2
    why didnt you eliminate the "think it over" as a possible outcome at the start of the appointment?


    Also before you wrapped up, did you ask if he had any questions, thoughts or concerns that he wanted addressing?


    If he were to sign on the day, what assurances did he want? What did he not want?




    next time, either send info in advance of meeting or take the info with you, and if you've set the agenda correctly, and managed the agenda down to 3 possible outcomes, you're set to go.

    As for following up, find out what they're questions and objectives they have, and change the way you do your next call/appointment.

    Hope that gets you thinking...


    regards



    Fraser
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  • Profile picture of the author Dmagnet
    First of all, congratulations for taking action. You have probably stepped outside of your comfort zone so it may feel quite uncomfortable to you. I know you are specifically asking a question about following up with a prospect who is supposedly interested.

    Based on the info you provided this is kind of like saying "I baked some peanut butter cookies and I forgot to add sugar. How can I fix this?" In this case you may want to throw out the proverbial "cookies" chalk this up to a learning experience and tweak how you are setting your appointments and how you are qualifying who you are presenting to.

    After the prospect agrees to an appointment you should then qualify. I would say something like:

    1) "Joe, you sound like a very direct person. Is there anyone else that will be a part of making the decision? If answer is "no" proceed to step 2.

    If the answer is "yes" then:

    "Joe, it sounds like we need to have Steve here as well. Let's schedule our meeting so we can all meet together, okay?" Proceed to step 2

    2) "Great then you'll be able to tell me yes or no while I'm there, right?" or "Great! Because I am authorized to offer a one-time promotional discount if we do business when we meet. Since this is the case afterwards can you just give me a Yes or a No?"

    So you need to qualify that you are speaking to the decision maker(s) and that you will be able to get a solid yes or no.

    You may also want to personally confirm your appointments. It is professional and it communicates to your prospect that you are serious and that you are mindful of each others time.

    Finally, when you arrive at your meeting reconfirm by asking your qualifying question again. You can ask something like "Joe if you like our program is there any reason why we couldn't do business today?"

    I find that many people who sell for a living do not properly qualify their prospects. They go out and give a beautiful presentation to the wrong person or to someone who is not ready to make a decision. Then they question whether they can sell or if their product or service is worth selling. The reality is that just by making a few "tweaks" to the sales process we can greatly increase our chances of closing a sale.

    Even if the person says something like "I don't want to be pressured to make a decision." We can still reply with something like " I totally understand, I never do business this way. Then you can at least give me a no then, right?"

    This qualifying question alone can significantly increase your closing ratio. It will probably be very uncomfortable to ask this question at first. But once you begin to see the benefits you will quickly adapt.

    Sales can be extremely rewarding if done properly. Keep in mind a baseball player who makes millions of dollars can have a .285 batting average. Now consider the fact that a .285 batting average means that this professional athlete will actually miss hitting the ball 71.5% of the time. Yet, he is paid millions of dollars to connect with the ball only 28.5% of the time. Selling a product or service is similar in that you will frequently "miss" more then the "hits" you get.

    The good news is that selling is a skill that can be learned. Think back to the time you learned to tie your shoes. You had to be consciously aware of how you were doing this. You went through a "learning curve" until finally you were able to tie your shoes without conscious thought. Most people give up while still going through the "learning curve" and they never get to see what happens by pushing through. What if you gave up when learning to tie your shoes?

    I would highly recommend educating yourself and honing your sales skills. I would strongly suggest reading some (or all) of the following books. If you are like me and have limited time then just get the audio version and play it repeatedly in your car.

    1) Brian Tracy - The Psychology of Selling
    2) Chet Holmes - The Ultimate Sales Machine
    3) Ari Galper - Unlock The Game
    4) Zig Ziglar - Secrets of Closing the Sale
    5) Jeffrey Gitomer – The Little Red Book of Selling
    6) Neil Rackham - SPIN Selling
    7) Jill Konrath - SNAP Selling: Speed Up Sales and Win More Business with Today’s Frazzled Customers
    8) Bob Burg and Jiohn David Mann - The Go-Giver: A Little Story About A Powerful Business Idea

    This is just a partial list and in no particular order. There are several more sales books to choose from. I have personally read each of the above and I would endorse them all. You are in a unique position where you can dictate what your income can be. Invest in yourself and learn how to sell properly.

    Congratulations again for taking action. I really hope you "push through" and I wish you much success going forward.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Think It Overs are usually Nos with a 2-week waiting period.

    You can call them back...ask them, "When you spoke with my representative, you said you needed to think it over. Are you okay with sharing with me what you need to think over? Maybe I can give you some more information to help."

    You are looking for barriers to buying. Once identified, you can either remove them or realize this person isn't a fit and move on.

    If they hum and haw and can't give a specific reason, hit 'em with, "Sounds like you just have no interest, and were being polite to my rep. Would you say that's true?"

    They'll either confirm or back off because of the takeaway.
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  • Profile picture of the author maxrezn
    SPIN Selling: Neil Rackham, Bob Kalomeer:...SPIN Selling: Neil Rackham, Bob Kalomeer:...
    This book should help you out with the problems you are having.
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  • ...it will all start to come together with a bit more practise and training.

    The best way to get clients to go ahead - is offer them an irresistible deal which is only available (tell them why that is) if they sign up today.


    Out of all the techniques for handling "I want to think it over" my favourite ones are -

    "Mr Prospect at this stage most of my clients say "Yes" can I ask why you don't want to go go ahead now?"

    or

    "Great, most people want to take time to think about their decision before making it

    Let me ask you, on a scale of 1-10...

    Ten being you are absolutely certain and ready to go ahead

    And one being you wouldn’t take it no matter what

    Where would you stand at this time?"

    Get an answer.

    Then ask

    "What would make it a ten?"


    Or - and this one needs extra special empathy, to be honest they all do - because you don't ever want to come across as a "high pressure" salesperson. You must have, and be seen to have, the clients best interests at heart.


    "I understand.

    However, you thinking about it will not change the fact

    That this product saves you money (makes you money, or whatever the big benefit is)

    Your company needs it,

    And you are going to do it sooner or later.

    Lets get it done, and I'll deal with everything for you perfectly

    So you can think about all the other things that need your attention.

    I just need your approval here and here"



    Hope this helps,


    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by Steve The Copywriter View Post

      ...it will all start to come together with a bit more practise and training.

      The best way to get clients to go ahead - is offer them an irresistible deal which is only available (tell them why that is) if they sign up today.


      Out of all the techniques for handling "I want to think it over" my favourite ones are -

      "Mr Prospect at this stage most of my clients say "Yes" can I ask why you don't want to go go ahead now?"

      or

      "Great, most people want to take time to think about their decision before making it

      Let me ask you, on a scale of 1-10...

      Ten being you are absolutely certain and ready to go ahead

      And one being you wouldn’t take it no matter what

      Where would you stand at this time?"

      Get an answer.

      Then ask

      "What would make it a ten?"


      Or - and this one needs extra special empathy, to be honest they all do - because you don't ever want to come across as a "high pressure" salesperson. You must have, and be seen to have, the clients best interests at heart.


      "I understand.

      However, you thinking about it will not change the fact

      That this product saves you money (makes you money, or whatever the big benefit is)

      Your company needs it,

      And you are going to do it sooner or later.

      Lets get it done, and I'll deal with everything for you perfectly

      So you can think about all the other things that need your attention.

      I just need your approval here and here"



      Hope this helps,


      Steve
      Steve; Strong stuff there.

      I use the "scale of 1-10" a slightly different way. (where the heck do we hear these ideas?)

      I call it my "7Up Trial Close"

      "On a scale of one to ten...one being no interest and ten means you are going to go ahead with it today, where are you now?"

      The reason I call it my "7Up Trial Close" is that if I hear the number 7 or higher, I know I have another shot. If it's lower than 7...I know I'm done.


      I didn't pick the nuimber 7 out of a hat. I tested the results over dozens of sales calls using that technique. Anything under a seven, and I never closed the sale.

      Let's say they say "Claude, I'm about at a nine." (I get that more than anything else) I just want them to hear themselves say the words. Believe me, it helps.

      Then I say "Would you say that you are going to do this sooner or later?"

      They say "Yes", because it's a no commitmnent answer.

      Claude The Mercilous "If you have already decided to do it anyway, we may as well get started now, while you can get the lowest price. Sound fair?"

      The reason this last sentence is effective is that I have just informed them that they have already made a decision....and now the timing is really just a detail. Amazingly, it often works.

      Good stuff.

      Steve; Do you have any area where that "1-10 trial close" came from? I've used it off and on for at least 20 years. I completely forget where I first heard it. I think the "7UP" part I created, but who knows?
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Hi Fated82,

    If you keep track of your call backs, and call them once or twice a month over 6 months 2-3 out of 10 will turn into sales.

    Call backs are the thing that take you to the second level...

    In other words, they build up in your pipeline, and a month down the road when you are averaging 2 cold sales per day, call backs come in and kick you up to 3.

    Each day you should wind up with a sale or two, and a stack of 4-6 good solid call backs.

    Keep track of them, but dont put alot of salt in them... Dont ever get hung up and let yourself stop moving forward just because you got a potential call back. Getting a call back is no substitute for real productivity and getting a sale each day. Dont take the rest of the day off just because you got a callback, in short.

    However , they DO have value...

    A call back is a potential pipeline sale that you have a 20% to 30% chance with over the next few weeks or months..., not to replace your daily goal of cold sales. Put them to the side and see them as potential rainy day sales. A big stack of them will come in handy on rainy days.

    -John
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  • Profile picture of the author Sue Bruce
    Originally Posted by fated82 View Post

    Recently I have someone made some calls to all the restaurants in my area to promote my mobile website. I clinched 3 appointments, went down, pitched but left without an order.

    All three told me they are interested and would like me to send them the brochure (done with PDF) and they will get back to me.

    I don't want to make them feel Iam desperate for their business but at the same time, I want to lose the deal as soon as possible.

    How would you follow up on prospects who are interested but requires time to think further.
    From what you've said, it sounds like the pitch isn't strong enough. It's a necessity to have s mobile presence going forward to 2013. Business owners have to be educated as to why and how the mobile presence will increase their bottom line.

    You probably will have to make a stronger case with your follow up. The return calls should only be 1/5 of your time and focus. That is, if you are calling full time hours.

    Sue
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  • Hi Claude,

    I do like the "7Up" trial close that is really good.

    Like you, I've been using the "1-10" trial close for years and I don't know where it originally came from!

    Maybe it was the late great Zig, or it could have been Tom or Brian.


    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author NewParadigm
    Try to qualify them upfront. "Mr/Mrs X, if you find out during presentation that XYZ makes good business sense to you, are you in a position to get started right away?" "Who is involved in making the decision?" to make sure they are all there and can't say they need to run it by their partner etc...

    Then if they hesitate, ask them what specifically is making them hesitate as you've already qualified them to be able to start right away if it looks good.

    A good way to take away any buyers remorse/commitment phobes is just offer them a guarantee. Mr/Mrs X, after we get started today, if for any reason, you truly think this isn't a fit for you, let me know and we can issue a refund. Obviously you can qualify what the guarantee/refund covers, especially for work already done etc...Just the point of using a "guarantee" of some sort relieves them of buyers anxiety of making a bad decision.

    For every client that takes you up on a refund, you will have closed many more that you wouldn't have w/out the guarantee.
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    In a moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

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    • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
      Originally Posted by NewParadigm View Post

      Try to qualify them upfront. "Mr/Mrs X, if you find out during presentation that XYZ makes good business sense to you, are you in a position to get started right away?" "Who is involved in making the decision?" to make sure they are all there and can't say they need to run it by their partner etc...

      Then if they hesitate, ask them what specifically is making them hesitate as you've already qualified them to be able to start right away if it looks good.

      A good way to take away any buyers remorse/commitment phobes is just offer them a guarantee. Mr/Mrs X, after we get started today, if for any reason, you truly think this isn't a fit for you, let me know and we can issue a refund. Obviously you can qualify what the guarantee/refund covers, especially for work already done etc...Just the point of using a "guarantee" of some sort relieves them of buyers anxiety of making a bad decision.

      For every client that takes you up on a refund, you will have closed many more that you wouldn't have w/out the guarantee
      .
      First half is very good.

      The second half, is pitching a refund. That is a very, very bad idea.

      It is so bad, that if I catch any of my tsr's doing that, I immediately FIRE them.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by NewParadigm View Post

      A good way to take away any buyers remorse/commitment phobes is just offer them a guarantee. Mr/Mrs X, after we get started today, if for any reason, you truly think this isn't a fit for you, let me know and we can issue a refund. Obviously you can qualify what the guarantee/refund covers, especially for work already done etc...Just the point of using a "guarantee" of some sort relieves them of buyers anxiety of making a bad decision.

      For every client that takes you up on a refund, you will have closed many more that you wouldn't have w/out the guarantee.
      I believe you have tested that. About as far as I'll go is "If I don't deliver the services as agreed, on time, I'll refund your money. But I don't want you to buy if there is any chance you'll ask for a refund".

      But I won't do that to save a deal (for online marketing services) while closing. It's just too weak of a deal.

      If someone buys based on a money back guarantee, they usually don't feel like they really bought anything. They are just "Trying it out".

      The one exception I've found is selling through the mail, where they actually have to go through an effort to return the merchandise.
      Do you know why the best feature on exercise equipment is that it fits under your bed? Because that's where, it goes, and then it's forgotten.
      Refunds take effort.

      But selling with the guarantee as the reason they go ahead? When they have no effort to just call and get a refund? Never.

      Will it increase net sales? I have no doubt that it will, even after the refunds.
      But it creates weak salespeople. And they will start giving the refund close even when not needed. Even conditional guarantees sound like a money back guarantee to the customer. They won't remember the conditions, just the refund promise.

      I've had a little experience with this. The rep thinks they have a deal,when they really don't. You think they made a sale when they really didn't.

      And in my experience, every ten sales sold this way generates 8 refunds.
      One opinion is "Well, that's two net sales increase" and that's correct.

      But there are many sales that will not cancel, because your rep didn't volunteer a refund offer.

      And as a personal preference, I hate refunds more than I love sales.

      But my post is just base on your post. There may be far more to it on your end.

      As an aside, when I had an office of salespeople selling vacuum cleaners (I know, not the same thing, but it's interesting)

      I had one rep named Roger. We called him "Next day cancellation Roger".
      He wrote up about half the people he saw, and the next day, three fourths would call and cancel. This happened for a few months. I asked him what he said, what they said, and he always had a reason..that wasn't his fault...why they cancelled.

      So I went with him on an appointment. He did everything well, and he started writing up the agreement. He said "Now, just so you know, you can cancel within three business days. Let's see...that means your last day to cancel is on this Friday. Now, here is the address to cancel if you want to. You aren't obligated to keep this. But after three days, you are. And about three fourths of my sales cancel." They said OK,and he finished writing it up.

      He was very lucky that I didn't have a gun.

      We got back to the office and I tried to keep my cool, but wasn't being very successful at it. He had absolutely no idea what he had done wrong. He had no idea why he was getting all those cancellations.

      Amazingly, after I talked through gritting teeth for about an hour, it got through to him that he was actually creating these refunds, where the customer was perfectly happy before.

      I'm gritting my teeth right now, just thinking about it.
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  • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
    @ Claude Whitacre

    Its been my experience, that once they start pitching the refund. They are ruined for life
    there is no turning back. I have watched entire companies crumble using that approach.

    I have watched smart people ruin themselves, i have even watched seasoned pros
    go down that dark path ... they think they are enlightened, or had an epiphany.

    I have never, not one single time, witnessed a recovery.

    pitching a refund is just a disaster waiting to happen. PLUS its illegal in a lot of places.

    And one more thing. yeah 8 out of 10 is just about right.
    and if you have a long rescission period your in double trouble.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Ken or John (or anyone else...I just like to name drop) :p

      Have you ever tried having someone call the next day on non-sales to make a different offer? Is there value in the presentation given the day before, even though they didn't buy?

      When selling in the home, I found that about 30% of our misses could be converted into a sale with a better offer, and a far better rep. We only called back people who had a complete presentation, but didn't buy.
      We never called people who we didn't give the entire show.
      But this only worked because our reps were mediocre. There was a lot of pent up demand when the left. Many people almost bought.


      Ken; "Dog and pony show". No idea where it came from. Maybe from the same people who brought us "Smoke and mirrors". But I still hear the phrase. Mostly from older guys like me. I never use it, because to me a great sales presentation is something sacred.
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      • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        Ken or John (or anyone else...I just like to name drop) :p

        Have you ever tried having someone call the next day on non-sales to make a different offer? Is there value in the presentation given the day before, even though they didn't buy?

        Ken; "Dog and pony show". No idea where it came from. Maybe from the same people who brought us "Smoke and mirrors". But I still hear the phrase. Mostly from older guys like me. I never use it, because to me a great sales presentation is something sacred.
        next day specifically, no.

        But we have many products, So unless they say "please take me off the list"

        They keep getting called, depending on the qualify, the rep chooses the pitch.
        so sometimes they hear the same pitch and buy, sometimes they hear a different
        one and buy. Sometimes, it might be half a dozen or more calls before they
        buy or say , remove me.

        We have a PD so, exactly when that happens is sorta arbitrary.
        But i am confident in saying, that it is not the next day... unless the leads
        are running low. which does not happen often.

        but it does happen, usually when some one screws up, or its a slow
        time of year.

        btw, something to tickle your funny bone. when we do finally give up
        on a lead. usually 3-4 months of continues activity.
        ( the non contacts, the no's and the hang ups)

        we sell them to a company in texas. They some how write between 1 to 1.5 a month
        off the sames leads we don't close, or wont pick up. Shit #'s but they
        are happy, and I am happy for getting rid of them.

        Plus i get to rub it in my sales reps face.
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