It’s Tuesday afternoon when Tom’s boss finds him staring sadly at the telephone on his desk. “I’m supposed to be making follow up calls,” Tom admitted. “I hate doing that. It just makes me feel so…pushy.”
While many people can understand Tom’s sentiments about making follow up calls, the truth is that they are an important part of the sales process and that most customers do not find them annoying or believe that the salesperson who makes them is being “pushy.”
There are several important ways that follow up calls can help your agency turn an on-the-fence prospect to a committed buyer.
1. You get to know the prospect better with each additional contact.
If you came across the prospect while cold calling or responding to Internet-generated insurance leads, you may not have known very much about them when you placed that first call. Each subsequent contact gives you a little more information about their organization’s goals and needs. The more information you have, the more you’ll be able to target your sales pitch to the unique set of circumstances faced by each prospect.
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2. Additional contacts can make the prospect feel important and cared about.
This is especially true if your prospects are Internet insurance leads. Research has shown that a quick first contact followed by lead nurturing is the sales process most likely to convert a prospect into a customer, but many companies drop the ball by not providing any follow up. Some don’t even make that initial critical first call. Even if a prospect isn’t ready to buy insurance from you, it’s still nice for him to know that you are interested in his or her issues. When and if the prospect does decide to join a new insurance plan, he or she will naturally think of the one that has been providing follow up all along.
3. Follow up sets you apart from the crowd.
Suppose you opened the paper today and saw that a company you had tried cold calling last week had won a national award for excellence. You can capitalize on this opportunity by sending a hand-written card to your prospect congratulating him and his company, reminding the prospect of your earlier conversation, and asking him or her to keep you in mind for any insurance needs. How many of your competitors do you suppose will go to all that trouble?
If you’re still a little dubious about follow up calls as an integral part of making sales, you might want to invest in some CRM software which can remind you when follow up calls or do and even automatically send follow up letters and emails.
The important thing to remember about following up with prospects is that you’re not being a nuisance; you are monitoring their ongoing needs and offering vital services.