Three Keys to
Overcome Your Fear of Follow Up
The truth is clear: the majority of salespeople don’t take
follow up seriously. After talking with a prospect they leave one
follow up voicemail or send one e-mail, and that’s it. A small
minority will take it a step further and call or e-mail one
additional time, but hearing that someone followed up three, four,
five, six, or even seven times is rare.
However, that’s exactly how many times you must follow up to
get someone’s attention. That’s right, seven follow ups are critical
if you want to be successful. Be honest now … how many follow up
attempts do you regularly make?
The excuses why salespeople don’t follow up are plentiful:
“I’m too busy,” “I need to spend my time in front of new prospects,
not chasing down possibilities,” “I left the person a voicemail; now
it’s their turn to call me.” All those excuses are nonsense! The
real reason people don’t follow up is because they’re terrified of
People have a fear of getting hung up on. They’re afraid the
prospect is going to tell them, “Go away! Stop bothering me!” This
inner dialogue actually stems from childhood, when they were asking
their parents for cookies. They’d say, “Mom, can I have a cookie?”
And Mom would snap back, “No. Stop bothering me and go to your
room.” Now, many years later, they’re bringing that child into the
workplace. So when it comes time to follow up, their internal
dialogue is saying, “I don’t want to bother her. I asked for the
cookie once and she said no. If I ask again, she’ll yell at me and
send me to my room.”
If you’re ready to put that child to bed and take the steps
necessary to follow up so you can land more business, keep the
following suggestions in mind.
1) QTIP (Quit
Taking It Personally):
they’re not rejecting you; they’re rejecting your product or
service. Here’s proof: Imagine that a wizard waved his wand and said
to you, “For the next twelve hours any phone call you make, any
person you meet, and any encounter you have you will get a ‘yes’
answer.” How many follow up phone calls would you make that day?
Most people say they would make an infinite number of phone calls
during that time.
If you’re making phone call after phone call that entire day,
isn’t that proof that the reason you’re not making the phone calls
is fear of rejection? You would have absolutely no fear of picking
up that phone if you knew there were a “yes” on the line.
But then what happens … you’re talking with someone and you
get a “no.” At that point you need to remember that it takes a
certain number of negative responses before you get the positive
one. That exact number will vary depending on your product and
industry. However, every time you get a “no,” say, “Great! Now I’m
one phone call closer to my ‘yes.’”
Finally, consider this: Does the person on the other end of
the line – the one who is saying “no” – really know you? Does he
know what you look like, what your life is like, what your dreams
and aspirations are, what you do in your spare time, and who you are
at your core? Of course not! Only your friends and family know that.
Therefore, if this person doesn’t really know you, how can he be
rejecting you? Face it … he’s rejecting your product, not you. Stop
taking it personally, pick up the phone, and have some F.U.N.
(Follow Up Now).
2) Never Assume:
the fact that they have great products, are very intelligent, and
can even pronounce peoples’ names correctly, most salespeople fear
they’re going to annoy prospects if they follow up. That’s why after
they leave one voicemail and get no reply, they assume that
the prospect is not interested.
We all know that
the word “assume” can be broken down into “ass u me,” which means
when we assume, we’re making an ass out of you and me. And in fact,
when you don’t follow up because of your assumptions, that’s exactly
what you’re doing.
Here’s why: The
reason people aren’t getting back to you – even after four or five
e-mails – is not because they aren’t interested; it’s simply that
they are busy. Therefore, following up is not about nagging; rather,
it is about reminding. Realize that people today are bombarded with
technology and information. Their minds are going in 50 different
directions all at once. It’s only natural that they need a bit of
reminding about your products.
Did you know that
the average person’s short term memory is between five and 60
seconds long? That means when someone is listening to five
voicemails in the car and hasn’t written the messages down, her
short-term memory of 60 seconds guarantees that she won’t remember
your call. This is just one more reason to remind people that you
Additionally, stuff happens. People lose their cell phones;
they get sick; technology glitches happen and voicemails or e-mails
disappear; and sometimes, people just forget. When you assume that
someone isn’t interested or assume that you’re bothering them or
assume they don’t have the money or make any number of other
assumptions, you’re sabotaging yourself and your company.
Besides, if you
truly believe you have a product or service that your client needs
to know about it, following up should not be an issue. After all,
you’re doing them a favor by reminding them of your offering. Most
prospects will even thank you for your follow up. And ultimately, if
someone is supposed to give you money for a transaction, then it’s
your obligation to get them on the phone. They never owe you a call
if they’re paying you. Stop making assumptions and follow up until
you get what you want.
3) It’s Never No;
It’s Just Not Yet:
often a prospect will say “no” repeatedly – sometimes for years –
and then suddenly one day that “no” turns into a “yes.” That’s
because no matter what their actual words are, it’s never really
“no”; it’s just not yet. In other words, the prospect is just saying
“no” to the product at that moment in time – not forever. But you
never know when he or she will be ready for your product, which is
why you have to follow up continuously.
The reason it’s never “no” and just “not yet” is because shift
happens. No one lives in a stagnant world. Everything is changing
every minute of every day. People and circumstances change,
sometimes in split seconds. A poor man can become wealthy overnight,
while a rich man can go to prison and lose everything. That’s why
Knowing this, it’s
not up to you to determine who is qualified for your product or
service and who isn’t. The only thing you can do is stay in touch
with these people and follow up because at any moment any person’s
circumstance can change. By knowing that “shift happens” and
acknowledging that “it’s never no and just not yet,” your success
rate in closing the sale will increase.
The Success is in the Follow Up:
Since few salespeople follow up with prospects, you will truly stand
out when you do. Even if your prospect does not immediately return
your call or e-mail, he or she will remember your efforts. And the
more follow up you do, the more permanently you’ll cement yourself
in his or her mind. That way when the person is ready to make the
buying decision, your name will be the first one your prospect
thinks of. Pick up that phone and do some follow up today. You have
nothing to lose and everything to gain.
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