Question 2: I received a sample request and fulfilled it — now, how do I get a potential customer to call me back?
“We supply promotional products to companies for client and trade show giveaways. My question is a simple one. I had a meeting with a large accounting and tax firm and they want to receive samples of what I think they should use. I sent samples I thought were the best for them and called to follow-up. Unfortunately, I have not received an answer on what they want, how many they need, etc. How do I get a potential customer to call me back?”
Well, there isn’t a simple answer to this but let’s understand a few things.
First, I wouldn’t send samples to anyone without clearly understanding if they like the ideas, what will happen next and by when. I would ask straight-forward questions such as, “Once I select and ship samples that will help you with your upcoming trade show, based on the needs we discussed (and within budget) — if you love them, what happens next?”
If you don’t have a clear understanding here, don’t proceed.
Secondly, what you are doing is not actually “following-up” it’s more like stalking!
Follow-up is when you mutually agree on next steps and both parties have a clear understanding of what that entails. For example, I recommend gaining confirmation that you will talk on “Tuesday at 3pm” to get their decision, and if interested, finalize an order.
With both of the aforementioned questions, often times small business owners and sales organizations feel they must do whatever the prospect asks. This happens when you don’t have a process to follow that is designed to build business within your organization.
Stop letting everyone else be in charge of your business and regain control of an effective sales process. Correct me if I’m wrong, but most of you are not running a business purely for fun. Most of us are are building a business with a profit motive in mind. Believe me — it won’t happen by letting prospects decide how you manage your business processes.
Not convinced? Think of this same scenario on different terms. I wouldn’t let a surgeon operate on me who said, “Well this is how I do it, but how would you like to proceed?”
Why is it okay in sales?
The simple answer: It’s not.
Photo Credit: Max Mara
Greta Schulz is president of Schulz Business SELLutions in West Palm Beach, Florida. She is the best-selling author of “To Sell is Not to Sell”. Greta does corporate training for fortune 1000 companies and she has an online training course for entrepreneurs.
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