Sales Skills

How “Follow-up” is Destroying the Prospecting Game

 “I’ll put a reminder on my calendar and follow up with you in two weeks.”

How many times have you heard that phrase?  “Follow-up” is a term that exemplifies the typical, transaction-based salesperson.  You may even use it yourself without even thinking about it.

However, if you want to serve your clients by becoming a diagnostic Trusted Risk Advisor™, we suggest that you eliminate “follow-up” from your vocabulary.

Why?  Because the very words convey a covert pressure to buy.  And it is human nature to retreat, both physically and mentally, when pressure comes our way.  This term indicates that you are moving closer to what you, not the client, wants – a sale.  When your prospect isn’t ready, your prospect subconsciously hears “follow-up” as “let’s move ahead to the next step of the process so I can secure your business.”

Have you ever had a prospect who cancelled the “follow-up” call and say, “We’ve decided to stay with the incumbent, but thank you anyway?”  Your “follow-up” may have undermined the opportunity with the prospect before you even realized it!

The words you choose when interacting with clients and prospects can drastically impact the outcome of any situation.  Try rewording and treating your client in a consultative, engaging fashion by saying:

“Hi, Luke.  I’m giving you a call to see what your thoughts are since we last spoke about your ___[insert their problem here] and to see if any questions have come to mind.”

Do you see the difference?  This statement reassures a prospect that you aren’t exerting subtle pressure…and, you aren’t triggering resistance if he hasn’t made up his mind yet.  It indicates that you were listening attentively to his goals and issues.  Essentially, you are both on the same team and you are working WITH the prospect, not forcing the prospect to work with you.

Think about the terminology you use in your everyday language and how your common, often second-nature, phrases impact your clients and prospects.  With a little fine-tuning, the way you speak will make a world of difference in gaining new business and building long-term relationships.

Happy speaking!