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My wife and I were about to undertake our last remodeling project. Being a consummate consumer, I wanted several qualified companies to bid on our next project. After calling ten contractors, I scheduled an appointment with the five that called back.
Following our meetings, one gave me a price on the spot and two never responded with an estimate. Two contractors mailed an estimate, and one of them followed up a week later.
Guess who got the job. Just by making a five-minute phone call! What fascinated me most was that only one contractor called back to discuss his proposal and ask for my business.
How can these salespeople afford not to follow up? Conducting my own research, each one said they needed more business, yet didn't know the status of the majority of proposals they sent. I sensed that following up regarding their proposal was not their typical M.O. Instead, here's what they said.
While these contractors formulated their own conclusion, they never bothered to confirm if their assumptions were, in fact, true! They were operating under the costly assumption, "The prospect will call when they're ready."
I asked Bill, one of the contractors, "If you're sacrificing valuable time to drive to an appointment, deliver a presentation, write a proposal and then don't follow up and ask for a prospect's business after taking all of the steps that earned you the opportunity to do so, who are you really helping?" Then it hit him between the eyes. "My competition!"
Bill realized something that only a select few have. While prospects need his remodeling knowledge and skills, they also need his help in making their purchasing decision.
Bill recently called me with some exciting results. After making thirty phone calls to past prospects, he spoke with ten prospects he had met with. Bill sold three more deals ($78,000) in one week that he never would have sold.
In many businesses, especially the ones that sell directly to consumers such as home remodeling, cold calling consumers via the phone is no longer an option to generate new leads. Aside from canvassing door to door, networking, asking for referrals, posting job signs or traditional (and sometimes costly) marketing/advertising campaigns, what else brings in more business? Follow up calls.
How many prospects are waiting for your phone call so they can send you a deposit? How many people are out there waiting to begin working with you?
Bill and I sat down to crunch the numbers. I shared this observation with him. "Consider that you can make about fifteen calls per hour (one hour per week). Assume that out of fifteen contacts, you make one more sale. (Average sale $10,000.) Four hours a month equates to four more sales. Over a year, that's $480,000 in volume. This exceeds the yearly volume of most contractors just by making one hour of follow up calls each week!"
If you take a moment and look at your call back list, how much business does that equate to? Now ask yourself, "How much of it am I willing to give to my competition?"
Since your competitors aren't paying you commission, here's your opportunity to utilize a simple, efficient three-step follow up system that will bring in more (free) sales.
1. Get Permission. Whether you need to follow up after an initial conversation or once a prospect receives your proposal, tries out your product, speaks with references or needs to check their schedule before they meet with you a second time, it's just good business sense to get permission before doing so. For instance, you inform the prospect they will be receiving your proposal next Friday. Before you leave the appointment ask, "May I follow up with you to discuss and answer any questions you have regarding my proposal?" Gaining permission to follow up eliminates