Seven Steps to Follow-Up on Cold Calls
1. Do not make an assumption about the sale.
Prospects are accustomed to the buyer-seller relationship in the traditional sense. They anticipate that you will exert pressure on them. As a result, they may choose not to disclose information that makes them vulnerable to pressure. Unless and until you are certain you have the entire truth, you can never assume the sale is yours.
2. Continue to make it simple for prospective clients to tell you the truth.
At the conclusion of your conversation, inquire, “Do you have any additional questions?” If the answer is no, ask the ultimate truth-gathering question: “Are you 100 percent certain that there is nothing else I can do to make you feel more secure in this situation?”
You’d be surprised how frequently people will respond, “Well, there is one more issue…” This is the point at which you truly begin to hear their truth.
3. Return the call to ascertain the truth, not to close the sale.
The majority of potential clients who vanish unexpectedly anticipate your pursuit. They anticipate you to call and inquire, “How are things?” \s Rather than that, alleviate all sales pressure by stating that you accept their decision not to proceed based on their failure to call you back. In other words, retrace your steps. Generally, this will result in the establishment of a new level of trust-based communication.
4. Assure them that you are capable of handling a “no.”
Naturally, we’d prefer to hear a yes. However, the only way to liberate yourself and your clients from subtle sales pressure is to communicate to them that it is not about the sale but about making the best possible choice for them. If this results in no sale, that is fine with you.
5. Request feedback.
Whenever prospects vanish, reconnect with them (e-mail only as a last resort because dialogue is always better). Simply inquire, “Would you kindly provide me with feedback on how I can improve for the next time? I’m committed to figuring out what went wrong.”
This is not being feeble or feeble-minded. It is an act of humility. This opens the door to the truth.
6. Avoid attempting to “close” a sale.
If your intuition indicates that the sales process is not progressing in the desired direction (which is always toward greater trust and truth), then trust those feelings.
Make it safe for prospects to communicate their position to you. It’s straightforward. Simply state, “How do you think we should proceed from here?” However, be prepared to hear the truth about how they’re feeling. You can overcome this by always keeping your larger objective in mind, which is to establish that the two of you “fit.”
7. Allow yourself the final word.
Eliminate the anxiety associated with waiting for the final call to determine whether or not the sale will go through. Rather than that, schedule a time to reconnect during your conversation. This eliminates the need for chasing. Simply put, “Can we arrange to meet on a day and time that is convenient for you? Not to complete the transaction, but to bring it to a close, regardless of what you decide. I’m fine with either outcome, and it will keep us from having to chase each other.”
You’ll discover that following these suggestions makes selling significantly less painful, as you remain focused on the truth rather than the sale. The truth is that the more we let go of the need to close the sale, the more sales we will almost certainly see.