Selling Technique - Follow Up!

Selling technique - Follow Up

How to close more deals by being better organized and having discipline.


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Selling Technique Ė Follow Up!

© 2007 David Peterson

Selling is basically a learned skill. If you follow the sales process of Open, Probe, Pitch, and Close then you are bound to land at least some deals.

Have you noticed that some salespeople are better at closing deals than other salespeople? You can have two sales representatives sitting side by side using the exact same leads yet one is a clear saleís leader. Both of the sales representatives are using the sales process to the fullest. Both of them are finding and solving for their respective prospects wants and needs. Yet more always; one representative makes a significantly more amount of money in commissions than the other representative.


There is a 5th element beyond Open, Probe, Pitch, and Close. That element is called Following Up!

What I have noticed in my career as salesperson, a sales manager, and a business owner is that everyone tries to follow up. Everyone calls their respective prospects back. Everyone has some ďlistĒ that they use to follow up with. Everyone is putting in the effort.

What creates the disparity in commissions is not that everyone is following up; the disparity comes in WHO and WHEN the representative is following up.

To be effective at following up you need two items:

1. You need an effective contact manager like ACT!

2. You need to be disciplined when following up.

A contact manager like ACT! will allow you to arrange your prospects into groups such as Hot, Medium, and Cold. Also while you are putting the prospects into groups you can schedule callbacks and keep track of all past correspondences. You can also make notes, schedule tasks, prioritize activities, etc., etc.

A solid contact manager will allow you to get organized so you know WHO to call and WHEN!

Salespeople that donít use contact managers to the fullest are really just order takers. If they donít know who and when to call someone back then they really are just prospecting with their own list. They are not really following up. If they donít know how to use a contact manager be a bit cautious when hiring them for a sales position.

The next step to be a successful salesperson is to understand that you need to have discipline to succeed. Discipline means that you focus on your hot prospects, and work on deciding what needs to be done to get your medium prospects closer to a decision.

Discipline doesnít mean that you are going to spend an entire afternoon calling all of your cold prospects. That is a waste of time. If the cold prospect has agreed to future information then send them a standard sales letter by mail or email and then move on. They are a cold prospect for a reason. You have already determined that reason.

What I find with middle-of-the-road salespeople is that they donít think that they need to improve their follow up skills. They think the system they are using is perfect.

The middle-of-the-road representative probably has his contacts on paper or in Microsoftís Outlook. Some of them using Outlook even have them color coded to get the prospects more organized. But at the end of the day if you were to ask this middle-of-the-road representative to give you his top three prospects that he will be calling on next Wednesday I bet he canít give you the prospectís name and/or the prospectís business name. Ask him to give you the size of the prospective deal!

Middle-of-the-road representativesí waste way too much time following up with cold prospects. They should be prospecting not following up with cold leads.

If you find your salespeople sending half their day following up with no results then it may not be their effort. It may be that they really havenít learned the skill of following up.

Get yourself and your representatives organized, then classify your prospects into hot, medium, and cold. After you classify them you should close the hot prospects, move the medium prospects closer to a decision, and then do yourself a favor and skip the cold prospects altogether. You are just wasting your time with that group.

The object of sales is to sell. Concentrate your sales representativeís efforts on the hot and medium prospects only.


David Peterson

David Peterson

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