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Losing sales? Try following up

Eighty percent of lost sales may be attributed to the lack of follow-up on leads, says Daniel Sitter

I heard a disturbing statistic this weekend; one that should not be occurring, especially in the realm of professional sales. Entrepreneurs lacking selling experience and training may make this costly mistake more often than seasoned sales pros, but fortunately, it is a matter that both groups can easily correct.

Eighty percent of lost sales may be attributed to the lack of follow-up on the part of the salesperson. You heard right! Frankly, that is an alarming and inexcusable statistic. Following-up is easy, especially when compared to getting your foot in the door in the first place! All of the planning, strategy and action required to open up a dialog and relationship with a customer can be all for naught if there is no follow-up. Customers do not like to feel unimportant or forgotten.

How many sales leads do have in your in-basket or email in-box that are yet to be responded to? How old are they? Rationally, we all know that the potential value of a sales lead tends to decline as they age. Why are you waiting? Why procrastinate over something so important? Too busy? There is no excuse.

How quickly do you return phone calls? How often do you check your voice mail? Can your customers and prospects locate you when they need your service or expertise? Do they know of a second contact to call within your company in the event you are unavailable? Put yourself in their shoes: What do you do when you are looking for someone to provide you with a service? You call someone. If you cannot reach them, or if they do not immediately return your call, you simply call someone else. Your prospects will do likewise.

After a successful first meeting, presentation or sale, do you follow-up with a call, note or email message? It is such an easy thing to and it only takes a moment of your time. Consider that moment an investment in your future with that customer. It is a capital investment well worth considering.

Follow-up is not difficult, and requires only a small amount of our time. It is however, a critical factor in our sales success. You can actually be a standout in your field if you simply devise an action plan for prompt follow-up with each prospective customer. Otherwise, you may keep bleeding sales. How much longer can you afford that?