Many salespeople leave most of their customer or prospect meetings with the thought, “That went pretty well.”
Yet surveyed prospects deem 89% of meetings as failures and B2B buyers believe just 8% of salespeople focus on driving “valuable” end results for the buyer. (Forrester Research) Fifty-six percent of all buyers rate their buying experience as “less than satisfied.” (DemandGenReport)
This isn’t the customer’s or prospect’s problem — this is a problem sales leaders and their teams must address, as their revenue performance hangs in the balance.
In this three-part series, we will tackle how to prepare for your meetings with buyers, how to serve your buyers during the meeting, and how to follow-up to ensure you will serve your buyers for the long haul.
How to follow up with buyers to foster a long-lasting relationship:
All it takes is one unsavory interaction for your buyer or prospect to see you as a pesky salesperson rather than the trusted advisor you wish to be. After you have led your buyer or prospect through a successful meeting, maintain your momentum by providing valuable follow-up interactions.
While when and how often you should follow up with your buyer may vary, keep in mind your intentions behind each interaction. Ask yourself, “am I trying to serve myself and my company, or am I trying to serve my buyer and his or her goals?” If your answer is yes to the former, than reconsider contacting your buyer until you find a reason for the latter.
The following post-meeting communication touch-points have helped me serve my prospects and customers well.
The same day after the meeting email.
I have found value in touching base with my prospect or client a couple hours after a meeting through email. This email is a casual, non-intrusive way to:
- Thank them for their time.
- Recap what we discussed in the meeting.
- Reiterate action items for both myself and my client.
- Share any value pieces — like blog posts, articles, statistics — that we touched on in the meeting and I have promised to provide.
Pro tip> If you would like to make an even greater impression on your prospect or buyer, consider sending a handwritten thank you note via snail mail to complement your email thank you and recap. The extra effort will help you stand out from your competition and show your investment in your customer.
A week after the meeting or as-scheduled follow-up call.
As you did during your meeting, continue to position your topics of conversation from your buyer’s or prospect’s perspective. Use these follow-up calls to:
- Reiterate the buyer’s pains and desired gains.
- Walk them through how your solutions help reach those gains.
- Share any additional research or insights you have uncovered since your last interaction (remember to always look for more ways to serve your buyer).
- Provide any information your buyer requested at the meeting that took time to gather.
Pro tip> For a more-effective follow-up call, send your buyer an email to confirm the time, date and estimated duration of the call, and to share the call agenda so expectations are met.
Periodically “touch base” after the meeting, once a month or so.
Proactively make time for your clients and prospects. Go for coffee when you visit their area. Send relevant articles or insights as you run across them. Ask them out to lunch and/or meet them in their office, if it is convenient for them. Take the time to talk about what has been bothering them, personally and professionally, what’s been going well, and what they look forward to for the future.
I genuinely enjoy building relationships with clients. Not because it benefits my business — though it often does, but because it positions me in a way to better serve that client with valuable, relevant discussions and solutions. Plus, I genuinely come to care for these people and their success and happiness.
When looking for reasons to follow up with your prospect throughout the long term, ask yourself:
- How can I help them reach their personal goals?
- How can I make their job easier for their professional goals and their overall organization’s goals?
- Where can I provide any value that could help them exceed goals?
- What insights have I run across about their industry or business that I can share?
- What else would they find valuable in their life or in their position?
Pro tip> Show that you truly care by listening. Listening seems to be a lost art in our busy, fast-paced world, so stand out in the crowd by slowing down and taking the time to listen. It can be helpful to write down what the client shared to help you remember. Did they just tell you their birthday is next week? Put a reminder in your calendar to shoot them an email on that day.