Sales follow-up: Frustration on steroids?

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Every sales training session I’ve ever attended has always ended by proclaiming the three most important aspects of selling are … follow-up, follow-up and follow-up. “Keep after them till they buy or die,” or something similar, is always emphasized. And who can argue that following up can be a key to success?

The problem with most seminars, however, is that the speakers seldom offer any blueprint for the follow-up. So we leave the training session pumped up, but without a framework for our follow-up.

Enter Pawel Grabowski, owner of the online training company Writing for, Grabowski recently offered a specific look at the sales follow-up process — ideas that might well be considered by the sales teams in our marine dealerships.

Selling can be frustrating, wrote Grabowski. He was referring to the time salespeople spend trying to figure out the best angle to continue approaching a prospect. In spite of their best efforts, the salesperson doesn’t hear anything back. So he or she figures the sale is lost and drops the prospect. It’s frustration on steroids.

But Grabowski contends we must recognize that good follow-up is a strategy. “A properly conducted follow-up is a means to keep in touch with prospects,” he says, “but the secret is getting the prospect to agree to it.

“Get your prospect’s permission to stay in touch,” he preaches. You do it by simply ending any interaction by asking if you can:

1) Call the prospect in whatever specific time period seems appropriate for the product and circumstances. You repeat this request every time you call or see them, even if there is no progress toward a sale.

2) Add them to your mailing list for your newsletter. Tell them the benefits — new ideas, informative notes, promise no sales pitches, etc. The fact is, if you offer great value, most prospects will welcome it. But never fail to ask permission.

3) After an appropriate amount of time, contact and ask permission to send a revised proposal. According to Grabowski, this is by far the weakest form of follow-up, however it still could work. But remember to agree with the prospect that you’ll check if they’ve had a chance to study it.

4) If you’re not comfortable asking the prospect in person about a follow-up, you can email them after your meeting. First, always thank them for their time. Then, end the email by asking them to agree with a specific follow-up suggestion i.e. another meeting, phone call, more information, a demo, etc.

Let’s face it, without people lining up in our showrooms these days to buy our boats, being on the sales team can be truly frustrating. Perhaps a more disciplined follow-up strategy can help take the edge off and lead to more sales.


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