Catalytic Management Consulting
Accelerating Growth, Driving Performance

Always Follow-Up after Sales Calls . . . and With Current Clients Too

When you’re comfortable with a current service provider such as a great hairdresser or auto mechanic, how willing are you to make a change? You’re not likely to switch the first time somebody suggests another provider even if the latter comes with glowing recommendations.

“Your prospects are just as reluctant to switch providers as you are,” points out Shelley F. Hall, Principal, Managing Director of Catalytic Management LLC (Boston, MA). “You usually have to earn a prospect’s trust before they will give up their current financial institution and start banking with you. This is why follow-up is so important. You build real trust over time - not in just one meeting.”

Relationship building starts when you follow-up and share something of value with your prospect without pushing for them to do business with your institution. You have to give before you can get and building relationships takes time, so it takes more than just one follow-up touch.

TIP:  Besides following-up with prospects, it’s vital that you also follow-up often with current clients. When the only communication they receive from you is a monthly statement, you risk losing that client to the competition. Remember, your competitors are just like you…they want your clients and are potentially wooing them. So make sure your current clients feel “loved” and “valued.”

Try These Tips

To wow prospects with your follow-up, Hall offers these tips:

  • Always, always, always send a thank you note to a new prospect that was gracious enough to share their time with you. The note should be handwritten…that’s right, handwritten. Emailing a thank you is easy and perfunctory and your prospect knows that. Handwritten thank you notes are personal and are such a rarity that you will stand out.
  • Using a client database or calendaring software, schedule a follow-up for within the first two weeks of your first meeting.
  • Schedule continued follow-up for once per month for six months.
  • Within three months ask for a face-to-face meeting to learn what’s changed at the company or perhaps how their new marketing program is going or how the new product is selling. Use any relevant business excuse to meet again.
  • Vary the follow-up format. Use the telephone, email, snail mail, etc. Show some creativity in your follow-up.

Be Creative!

A follow-up is anything you send or share that reminds the prospect of you and your institution. “Be creative,” emphasizes Hall. Being creative is more than just calling to say, “Hi, how’s it going?” or mailing your institution’s marketing material.  “Demonstrate that you think outside the box – that you are not just another Branch Manager eager to drive new deposits. You’re a knowledgeable Branch Manager driven to help the prospect’s business grow,” explains Hall. She offers these ideas:

  • Look for articles about the prospect’s industry that you can snail mail or email.
    TIP:  Set up Google Alerts so that any time there’s an article that fits your prospect’s interests, Google will send you an email and you can then email the article with a short note. Or better yet, surprise the prospect and send it snail mail.
  • Let the prospect know anytime you see their company mentioned in a positive way whether it’s in print media, television, radio, or online. It’s a great opportunity for you to follow-up and talk about the article, interview, recognition, etc.
    TIP:  Set up a Google Alert based on the company’s name, so that anytime the prospect is mentioned online you’ll know about it.
  • Look for basic business articles that will help the prospect’s business grow and improve. Articles about great client service or sales techniques are always welcome.
    EXAMPLE:  The prospect is having issues driving revenue. Sales articles are a great way to show you listened to their concerns in the meeting.
  • Make a referral or recommendation that can benefit the prospect.
    EXAMPLE:  The prospect told you that finding really good employees is a big challenge. Introduce them to a recruiter or HR consulting firm that is also a current client of your institution. You’ll make a current client and a prospect happy.
  • Record the data of the company’s founding and send your prospect a Happy Birthday card as a follow-up.

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