As a homeowner, I‘m always having to fix something. Those of you who own homes know exactly what I mean. I’m in the habit of getting a variety of quotes for the big stuff, and it’s amazing how some companies/sales reps follow up on a sales quote (and so get the business), and others don’t. Here’s a recent example:
My air conditioning coil went out (my existing heating and air company—we’ll call them Air Quiet—quoted me $2,500 to replace it), so I decided to have another company—we’ll call them Air Aggressive — come out to give me another quote.
Air Aggressive came out with two guys: the guy who crawls around and the “closer”—a guy who doesn’t get his hands dirty. After they looked at everything, they immediately tried to upsell me to a whole new unit (including a new heater). They said there wasn’t any reason to replace the coil on a ten-year-old compressor, etc., and it made sense. Their quote was about $9,600.
I then called Air Quiet back to give me a quote on a comparable new system. A very knowledgeable guy came out and quoted me on a better system (apparently, according to him, the first company was giving me an inferior system), and the new quote for a “better” unit was just $8,300. I told him I’d think about it.
So, here’s what happened next. The first company, Air Aggressive, followed up five days later. I got a call from the office and a nice woman said I had work that needed to be done and was I ready to schedule it? (That was a nice assumptive close). I told her I was thinking about it. She stopped there and told me she would be in touch.
Four days later, I got a call from the closer himself: Was I ready to schedule the work? No, not quite yet, I’ll be in touch, I told him. Zero come back to that stall, instead, he just said he’ll look to hear from me.
Three days later, I got a call from the closer’s manager: Was there anything I needed to know, and was I ready to schedule the work I needed? No, I replied, I’m still thinking about it. Zero attempts to overcome that stall either…
I received one more voicemail from the company, Air Aggressive, and they have left me alone since then.
The other company, Air Quiet—you know, the one with the good quote? Nothing. Not a phone call, not a voice mail, not an email. Nothing.
If I hadn’t received such a good quote from them, and especially if I hadn’t been informed by them that the other company was using lesser quality products (a model down in rating), I’d have gone with Air Aggressive already. And if Air Quiet had followed up, they’d probably have the business by now….
My point here is that follow up is the key to getting the business. And it’s not just this way with heating and air companies. I’m amazed (and I’ll bet some of you are as well), at how laid-back many salespeople are. It’s surprising they get any business at all!
One of the things that has always made me a top producer (even now in the consulting world) is that I’m on it. And on it. And on it some more. I have specific follow up appointments scheduled, I’m sending emails and cards, etc., in between those meetings, and when I get a stall, I use three or four closes to overcome them or at least understand exactly what is standing in the way.
In other words, I don’t give up. I’m persistent and tenacious. I act with a sense of urgency. And this has always been a key contributor to my success—in and outside of sales.
So I’d like you to ask yourself whether in your own company you are more like Air Aggressive or Air Quiet?
My advice: If you want to close more business and make more sales, you need to follow up a lot more than you probably do. Don’t leave it to your prospects to get back to you—they rarely will.