Often times in the sales world it is so easy to get bogged down with prospect outreach, constant internal/external communications, reports, calls and trying to hit your quota. Many sales reps have the constant pressure of making the next sale and moving on to meet revenue goals of the company. Often times being overwhelmed leads to poor communication skills and follow-up with the prospects. You may think it is no big deal to not follow-up with folks, get back with them promptly and make a special effort to make them feel important but your customers notice and make mental notes every time this happens. As a potential new customer, they want to get a flavor of the company and the sales reps is the first true interaction they have with the company. So, the sales rep sets the stage. If the sales rep fumbles, it may not only cost the company/rep the sale but also put a bad taste in the mouth of the prospect for years to come.
In today’s world, I am seeing sales reps make these mistake all the time. All the new technology has not helped. Customers make decisions based on the quality of the interaction with the sales rep. So, here is some brief advice to help portray a positive reflection to your prospect before, during and after a sale.
- Be polite all the time. Overly polite. On every form of communication.
- Thank them for the opportunity to be considered as a potential partner/vendor. Don’t for a minute think you are doing them a favor. Confidence closes sales, not arrogance.
- Call and follow up with time frames as relayed. If you don’t have answers at the deadline, follow-up and say you are working on it.
- Show up to all calls timely. Their time is more important than yours. They are the customer.
- Set personal guidelines (i.e I return all calls within 4 hours, emails within 24 hours)…and stick to it!! If they can’t get you, they will worry about not being able to get support.
- Be positive. Customers don’t care if you are busy or had a bad day…it is about them. Make them feel important.
- Did I say be overly polite and appreciative. End your emails with “Thank you” or “We appreciate your business/opportunity”. They have options.
- Never burn a bridge…customers come back around again and reputations get out. If you didn’t make the sale this time, keep reaching out with positive communications. They may get burned and you will want to be there to help.
BTW, I call these things manners … in the end it is really common sense.