By Tibor Shanto
When I read this article by my friend and colleague, Tibor Shanto, it made me laugh out loud because: 1.) The charming way it was written and, 2.) The truth of what Tibor had to say. I knew I had to share this article with my Opening Doors and Closing Sales readers. Enjoy!
I have often suggested that those people who are not cut out for a career in sales, should seriously consider a career in hospitality. Based on recent experiences I’ve had as a prospect, and seeing how some sales people sell, I firmly believe that there is an expert on clairvoyance, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clairvoyance who on his blog, is recommending to his readers that those who can’t cut it as clairvoyants, strongly consider a career in sales.
The reason is the number of instances I have seen where people, who have a sales title of some sort on their business card, seem to be selling by using the ESP sales methodology. That’s right, you’ve heard of SPIN, The Challenger Sale, The Objective Seller, and other sales methodologies; but all of those combined, don’t come close to the number of sellers who use the Extra Sensory Perception approach to sales and prospecting.
Here is an example. I was recently in the market for something, and met with a couple of providers, including one I liked. The day we met was a low energy day, I was not jumping up and down every time we identified a fit, or high-five them when I left. They agreed to forward a proposal, and “follow up with in a few days of sending.”
A month later, no proposal – no follow up. I can only conclude that A) they didn’t like me or want to help me; B) They are useless. C) They are clairvoyant, using the ESP method they knew I was not a buyer, so why waste time, effort, or router capacity to send the proposal. Although if they were clairvoyant they would have known this the minute I walked in, or even before, and not wasted any time on me.
Myself, I think they are useless, not following up is just not acceptable. Even when I have meetings where I know we will not do business now, or ever, I still send a follow up note, if for no other reason than to keep up my reputation, not being clairvoyant, I don’t know what will happen in the future, where they may end up working next year. If I have any inkling of possible business, I follow up for the obvious (may be not to some) reasons.
Another example is when sales people are tasked with calling either people who stopped by their booth at a trade show, or sales people who spend part of their day collecting cards to use for potential appointments. Time after time, I see people just look at the name on a list, or hold the business card, at a certain angle at given distance from their eyes, and the miraculously divine not only whether the person will give them an appointment, but whether they will buy.
Not possessing that skill, I find that following up by making the call often leads to the same results, no appointment – no sale; but sometimes these people invite me in, and then buy, who would’ve known?
I know it takes effort, not just the actual act of follow up, but the planning, the flow, the means, and more. Start with a plan, map out the various potential outcomes to each stage of the sale, including next steps, (plans A, B, and C). Once you have that flow, just execute, complete the plan; it won’t make non-buyers buyers, but those people on the fence, will more likely fall your way, especially when the competitors don’t follow up.
Tibor Shanto has been a sales leader for over 25 years, helping companies achieve and improve their revenue goals. He has been called a brilliant sales tactician, helping sales teams and organizations to better execute their sales process. As a principal with Renbor Sales Solutions, he works with leading B2B sales organizations to deliver sales growth through the right combination of strategic and tactical execution supported by metrics and his Follow-Through Action Plan.Connect with him on Twitter @TiborShanto.