When it comes to business in general, following up with your leads or current clients is crucial. However now that SMS marketing is more common than calling, picking up the phone and having a productive phone conversation isn't getting any easier. When a customer reaches out to you, the way you handle that follow-up conversation can make or break your relationship with that customer.
A bad or unimpressive first impression can cause a major impact on your business and your numbers will start to suffer. In order to become a follow-up master, try applying the following tips to your strategy.
1. Schedule your Phone Calls
Catching someone at the right time seems almost impossible, especially because everyone seems to increasingly become busier by the minute. That is why scheduling your follow-up call is the best thing to do. You'll become more organized, professional, and polite in the eyes of your client.
There will be times when you must break the schedule and reply back to an angry or upset customer immediately. Assess the situation and use your best judgment to handle a situation like this.
If you're due to call someone and they don't answer your follow-up call, be ready to leave a brief voicemail.
2. Always be Prepared
Speaking of being ready, people know when you're unprepared and you'll see that opportunity with the client slowly crumble in front of you because of it. Instead of wasting your time and theirs, make sure you are thoroughly prepared ahead of time. Do your research, read your notes, and check your CRM for any important details.
Collecting enough information about the person you are following-up with will allow the conversation to flow and create some helpful talking points. You don't need to have an entire dialogue ready, but being prepared with enough information about that person will show them that you are taking your role seriously.
3. Ask the Right Questions
This step isn't as simple as avoiding the dead end yes and no questions. Asking effective questions isn't always easy but the questions you ask as well as the ones you don't can have a major impact on the success of your follow-up conversations. Avoid questions that contain the following:
- Multiple choices or multiple questions. For example: Did you perform maintenance on your air conditioner last month, last summer, or longer? Do you know if anyone else has maybe taken care of it? Has any other company performed maintenance on it recently?
- Rambling. Don't talk more than you need to. It's nice to share a few personal experiences here and there but always keep it to a minimum. Make sure the customer is sharing more than you are.
Including conversations like this in your follow-up calls can confuse the client and simply bore them out of doing business with you. You have to learn to ask direct and deliberate questions that produce useful answers.
4. Maintain a Balanced Conversation
A successful phone conversation contains equal parts from both sides. If you're the one doing all the talking then you won't get the customer's input. If you're doing all the listening, that means you're not asking the necessary questions to gain insight from the customer.
In order to establish a productive phone call, learn the customer's pain points, and communicate your value proposition effectively you have to keep the conversation balanced.
Always make sure to allow them to answer fully before asking your next question. If they feel like you're rushing through the dialogue then their interest in working with you may diminish. Being an attentive listener and active participant will show the client that you value their time.
5. Send a Follow-up Email After the Call
This may sound a bit redundant but you should always follow up the follow-up with an email. After the call, gather the highlights of the conversation and any specific questions that need following up. The purpose of doing this recap email isn't to provide a written form of what was just discussed. Instead, this is to thank the client and recap the major key points of the call for future reference for both you and the client.
Follow-up emails also ensure any tasks or responsibilities are clear to both sides. A clear recap email will improve your follow-up calls and keep the conversation going in a productive and useful way.