Every sales path is different, just like every customer’s needs are different. That doesn’t mean you can have a disorganized sales approach and hope to come out ahead. You won’t.
You need an organized sales approach from start to finish to get your business to grow. Most salespeople get a good handle on the initial contact phase of the sales pipeline; it’s what comes after where things get off track. Make no mistake, the sales followup is just as important to your sales career as your first contact and your closing. This post is all about how to take more prospects down the sales pipeline by getting organized.
Plan Your Day (and Week and Month)
One of the first steps to getting organized is to make a plan and follow it. Start with today. What has to get done? Who do you have to call back? What needs to go out in the mail? What paperwork needs to get done?
Make the most of your time. Put harder tasks first in line, like cold calling new prospects. After lunch, you’ll get a second wind. That might be a good time to do followups. Make a reasonable plan for how many sales calls you’ll make each day and stick to it. Leave tasks that don’t require total focus for later in the day.
What you can’t get done today should go on the calendar for first thing tomorrow. Stay on task so you can meet your goals for each week and don’t lose track of your prospects.
Also, think about your month. Some weeks you’ll have more time for sales calls, but you may have more paperwork that needs attention at the end of the month. Learn your schedule then work your calendar to suit.
Take Good Notes
Don’t pick up the phone to call a customer or prospect if you don’t have your tablet or notepad handy. Take notes on everything. Then, make sure important info finds its way into your CRM. But don’t just stop there. What do you need to do with that info? Why did you write it down and how is it useful?
If a customer mentioned their kid’s little league game tonight and you have to follow up tomorrow, make a note to ask how it went. It’s all part of building that all-important rapport with your customers. Some info may not need a followup right now. If that’s the case, make a reminder to look at the account in a few months or next year before you reconnect with that customer.
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Track Your Actions
The sales system you’re building should include processes for making notes of every interaction you have with a customer. You can often do this right after you hang up the phone or send an email. Make a note in your CRM software that you followed up. Set a calendar reminder to check back in if you don’t hear back from that prospect in a day or two.
Know how your prospects are moving through your sales pipeline. If you see a pattern — too many people dropping out at a certain point, prospects not opening your email — that’s probably a place to spend some time refining your system.
Track Your Pipeline
In fact, once you get going with these other tips — making a daily plan, taking notes, tracking your actions — you’re going to come up with data that will show you exactly where in the pipeline you’re losing the sale.
Spend a little time on this data each week, enough to sort through and see where sales problems came up and whether you’re hearing the same sales objections from different prospects. That’s valuable info you can use to fill the gap and close more sales.
Keep on top of how many leads you’re currently working, as well. Do you have too many prospects to juggle? While that’s a great problem, you can solve it by making your system more efficient or hiring some clerical help. Too few leads in your typical weekly pipeline? You can up that by intensifying your referral efforts and buying more aged leads from the Aged Lead Store.
Follow these tips and you’ll start seeing different answers to those first questions I asked. Getting organized and managing your sales pipeline from start to finish is going to mean more leads crossing the finish line this month. You’re also going to lose track of fewer leads in the middle of your pipeline. Your days should get less hectic, your relationships with customers should improve, you’ll feel more in control of your sales followup to-do list, and you should have a better grasp on your overall pipeline.