“You have to know what actually want and why they want it..” – Jason Cutter in today’s Tip 827
How do you fix the follow-up trap?
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today’s tip comes from Jason Cutter. Jason is the CEO and Founder of Cutter Consulting Group and he’s also the author of the book: Selling with Authentic Persuasion – Transforming from Order Taker to Quota Breaker. Here he is:
Jason Cutter: “Hey, I’m just calling to follow up. See if you got my email.” “Hey, I’m following up with you one last time before I close your file.” “Hey, I wanted to check in to see if you were still interested in what we talked about before.” “Hey, they’re just following up to see if you had a chance to talk to your boss yet and get approval for the project we talked about.” Have you said these things in your conversations, in your voicemails, in your emails to your prospects, especially the ones that seemed pretty promising and you thought they were going to move forward? And now you’re in this kind of follow-up game where you’re leaving messages, you’re sending emails, maybe sending text messages and you’re trying to get them to move forward. You’re trying to get them to pull their head out of the sand. Yet what’s happened is they’ve gone into what I called “The prospect witness protection program,” which is they don’t want to talk to you. They’re not answering, they’re not replying and they’re not interested in your follow-ups. And that’s the problem. I call this “the follow-up trap” because so many salespeople get into this trap and they end up with a pipeline full of follow-ups. And when they sit down with their manager or their lead, and they’re going through their pipeline, all they’re doing is talking about all the follow-ups they have and all the great deals that should be there. And all the people who seemed really interested during the demo or the conversation yet now they’re gone, right? One term would be ghosting, you they’re just gone. They’re non-existent.
So what has happened? Well, generally, what has happened is that you did not create enough urgency and enough value in the conversation that you had at whatever stage it was. It could have been the demo, could have been the appointment setting, could have been the proposal wherever that is for you, but there wasn’t enough value and enough urgency that was built by you for them, for them to take action and do what was agreed upon. Now, sometimes life happens. Sometimes something gets in the way, right? Sometimes they have an issue with work. There’s something more urgent. What you’re hoping they will sign up for, buy from you is not the top priority or the hot burning issue right now. And they’ve got something else going on, right? Sometimes they’re on vacation. Sometimes their boss is on vacation. Sometimes they’re going through restructuring. All kinds of things can happen at their organization outside of your control. Generally though, what I’ve seen is that people fall into the follow-up trap, where they get their prospects into this cycle and they literally don’t know how to move them out of it.
So how do you get out of this? How do you fix the follow-up trap? Well, here’s the biggest thing. You have to know what actually want and why they want it. And here’s where a lot of salespeople go wrong is they talk about themselves, at first. They talk about their company, their logos, their brand, their case studies. They talk about all kinds of things and they just assume everybody wants what they have. And the unfortunate part is they’re not asking questions. They’re not diving deep. They’re not finding out what the other person wants. If you get off the phone, whether it’s an appointment, whether it’s a demo, whether it’s a proposal stage, wherever you’re at, if you get off the phone and you can not succinctly answer, why do they want what you are offering? If you can’t answer that question, why do they want what you’re offering for their reasons. And again, it could be the Marketing Manager could be a VP of sales, but why do they want what you have? If you can’t answer that your sales process and your deal that you’re looking at is all based on hope. You’re hoping. They know why they would want to buy from you because if you don’t know, there’s a good chance, they probably don’t know as well. And so that’s where this follow-up trap comes in, is that instead of clearly understanding why do they need that? Most salespeople get into the habit of just thinking that everyone wants it and then hoping they’re going to fall through.
And the key is, is that when you do know why they want it, then your follow-ups become so much more important and valuable and constructive because instead of saying, “Hey, I’m just following up.” “Hey, I wanted to talk to you because when we spoke about this, I know that you had wanted to get our platform to help with X, Y, and Z, right?” Hey, in the email you send them say, Hey, I just, even if you want to say the words follow up, but feedback is a better way to go. “Hey, I just wanted to get some feedback from you because when we spoke about this, I know that this platform was going to be very helpful for you to meet your Q1 goals with your marketing. And I know that that was really important to you. So I just wanted to check in with you and move this forward.” Right? Now, my follow-up, now my checking in, now my feedback requests is all about what they want, why they want it, their urgency, not about me, not about my Q1, not about my numbers, not about my end of year. It’s about them. And when you do that, then those follow-ups will shift and become more effective.
Once you’ve done that. Be sure to come back tomorrow for another great sales tip. Thanks for listening!