The Art of Following Up

Recently I purchased a car and the process was very smooth. The dealers people involved were friendly, knowledgeable and sincere in wanting to help me purchase a vehicle.

I arrive at the dealer on a Wednesday to start the process and the selection process, test drive and paperwork goes fairly quickly and you can tell my sales guy here has done this a time or two. I schedule to pick up the car on Friday and all is set to go thru with the finance and wealth of paperwork to complete, but, again, went quickly and it was very organized and explained in detail. On a side note, feeling famous as I signed or initialed documents roughly 30 times.

I also have to say the the car was up front, totally detailed and ready for me to drive away. Just another piece to the overall experience.

The Lost Art of Following UpHere is the part that I always truly appreciate and it is the art of following up. Within a week of picking up the car I get a hand-written card from the two gentleman that assisted me in the process. There is always a moment of surprise when you do get one of these because it actually happens so rarely. Truly appreciate the follow up and of course I will be thinking of them for future use as well as a referral source for them.

I have had the occasion recently to do some of the same follow up for recent meetings. One was a hand-written thank you card for the meeting and two were emails with the same type of message. It is a lost art to do this type of follow up. It doesn’t have to be some long, drawn out message. Here are the two emails that I sent:

Great meeting with you this morning. There should have been smoke coming from our area with as much info as we tossed around. I truly enjoy our in-depth conversations.

I also included some items that were referenced in our meeting and an actionable next step for a future meeting.

The other email was:

It was great meeting with you yesterday and I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. I look forward to the next opportunity to meet with you.

Both emails garnered a response from the individuals that I had met with.

Here are some key points for you to use when do your follow up.

1. Make it quick. Send an email or similar method (LinkedIn, Facebook Message, etc) within 24 hours of the meeting or event. Send a ‘hand-written’ card within 72 hours.
2. It should cover the reason for the communication, reference something from the meeting or event and have some actionable next step or steps.
3. Be sincere. Show gratitude. Be Thankful.

Following up is a component of great customer service, salesmanship, professionalism and it doesn’t have to be a lost art. Start following up today!

How having only "good" workers can ruin your company

Recently I had been spending some time reading, well, actually listening to Jim Collins and two of his books, Good To Great and then Great by Choice. They are amazing looks at business and led me to believe that truly successful companies are surrounded by great individuals.

At my Toastmasters club, Towpath Talkers, I did a speech on one of the the concepts in Good to Great, the Hedgehog Concept, called “Good is the Enemy of Great”. The concept is about taking three distinct areas to focus on and finding the sweet spot at the intersection of all three. The three core competencies are 1) be passionate about what you do, 2) find your key economic indicator and 3) find out what your company is best at in the world. You have to have all three to become great. You can get all of this and more in his books and I have links below for each.

What made me think about this once again was the article, Newbie leadership mistakes and the important lessons learned, on Smartblog for Leadership. The 8 specific tips are by promising young entrepreneurs. Read this great article here.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t

Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck–Why Some Thrive Despite Them All

Top Coaching Habits of Great Sales Managers

This is very good information here from my favorite folks at Selling Power. 11 great questions get answered in this two-part article. Enjoy!!

Managing a sales team is a lot like coaching a sports team. In both cases, you’ve got to balance varying levels of skill among the team, put routine practices in place to help them achieve peak performance, and ultimately lead them to a winning season or quarter. Selling Power recently hosted a Webinar on the topic of sales management and sales coaching (“Accelerated Sales Success through Effective Coaching“) featuring Selling Power CEO Gerhard Gschwandtner and Sales Readiness Group president David Jacoby. In this two-part Q&A, Jacoby provides answers to the top questions that were asked during the Webinar. (To listen to the full recording of the live Webinar, click here.)

This is Part 1 – http://www.sellingpower.com/content/article.php?a=9570

This is Part 2 – http://www.sellingpower.com/content/article.php?a=9572&nr=1

I Love My Distributor

How many times have I heard this over the years. I love the company that I am dealing with. I have a great relationship with my salesman. On and on……

Here is an article from Selling Power that answers that question and more.

It’s not easy selling against an established personal relationship. But while getting a foothold over a competitor’s services or product is certainly a challenge, it’s not insurmountable. Salespeople who do their homework, position themselves correctly, and practice patience can ultimately create opportunities for themselves. Here are some tips and sample one-liners to help open a conversation.

Overcoming the “Established Relationship” Objection

The Most Important Part of the Sales Process

Recently I had updated our selling process/sales cycle at work and conducted a training session at our last sales meeting. This article hammers home some great points and areas to focus on in these early meetings with prospective customers. Read the article by Chris Bennett on why the discovery stage is so critically important to sales success.

Sales Worst Practices

10 Sure-Fire Ways to Fail at Sales – Sometimes a humorous perspective that highlights the wrong things to do can give you insight into doing the right things. I hope you enjoy our list of the top 10 sure-fire ways to fail at selling today. From the Brooks Group.

Sometimes it is great to see what not to do as opposed to what you should be doing. Enjoy and try to do the right things to make your sales career more successful.

Check out the article here.