You may have heard the assertion that people are more afraid of public speaking than death.
I don't yet have the statistics to back it up yet, but I think the fear of picking up the phone and calling someone you don't know, trumps both of these.
I've met many people who have little fear of public speaking, but I've seen several grown men and women quake with fear at the prospect of making follow-up calls. In fact, many long years ago, I was one of those people!
A follow-up call means calling someone by phone whom you've previously met and who might be a prospect for your services. It could also be a lead you've received from an associate or an attendee from a talk or presentation.
The follow-up call is the pivotal action between marketing and selling. Marketing warms up the selling process, but the follow-up call is the key action that furthers the business relationship and often secures the appointment.
To call or not to call, that is the question.
Not only do we not like making follow-up calls, we tend to do a bad job of them when we finally get around to it. It's not uncommon that we avoid them altogether, hoping that interested prospects will call us back instead.
However, when I meet the very rare person who is good at making follow-up calls, I know they won't have much trouble consistently attracting clients. They don't wait, they connect. They seize the opportunity, not wallow in the difficulty.
Let's do a reality check:
1. For the most part, prospects are not going to call you back, even if they are interested in your services. If you want to turn that prospect into a client you MUST make the follow-up call.
2. You will survive if you make these calls. I haven't known of anyone who has died by making follow-up calls or has had the prospect send a hit man to take them out.
3. You can get very good at making follow-up calls. You can learn how to do this relatively easy. Like anything, it will take some time and practice, but it's not rocket science.
Introducing a New Audio Program
In the Audio Program I'm launching today, "The Art and Science of Telephone Follow-up" I interview Denise Clancey of Teledirect Partners on all the ins and outs of making successful follow-up calls. Let me share one of her main ideas.
The way to succeed with follow-up calls, is through scripting.
If you were playing in Hamlet, you'd have a script. If you didn't, can you imagine how you'd come across? You'd bomb! Well, isn't your business more important than a play?
With follow-up calls, you can't wing it; you need to know what to say, when to say it and how to say it. You need to write out your scripts and use them as guidelines as you make your calls. You never actually read your scripts, but use them as outlines to keep you on track.
Denise recommends four kinds of scripts:
1. The script for voice mail
2. The script when you reach a prospect
3. The script for dealing with gatekeepers
4. The general purpose information script
Armed with these four scripts, you finally have power when you make your calls. You will start to control the flow of the call instead of the call controlling you. (In the audio program, we go over these scripts in great detail and even role-play each one of them.)
Also, like being in Hamlet, you need to practice. Out loud. Use a mirror and a tape recorder for immediate feedback. Until you feel comfortable with your scripts, you will sound awkward and hesitant, missing that authentic connection with your prospects.
If and when you master the art of the follow-up call, you will see the following results: Fewer opportunities missed, more appointments with qualified prospects, and more business closed.
Follow-up calls need to be a central part of your marketing plan. No matter what marketing activities you do, follow-up calls need to be part of the equation. If you don't make them, you may be waiting a very long time for prospects to call you back. And that, my friend, can kill you!
For more information on this audio program, link here: "The Art and Science of Telephone Follow-up"
The More Clients Bottom Line: Learning how to make more effective follow-up calls can give you more marketing leverage than almost any other marketing activity. Follow-up calls can dramatically increase the opportunities to present your services to potential clients. Avoid learning this skill and it will cost your business dearly.
How have effective follow-up calls helped your business? Please share on the More Clients Blog.