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How to Effectively Open Your Follow-Up Calls

  • by
    Art Sobczak

  • Your follow-up call opening should serve to smoothly bring the customer’s state-of-mind back to the point where it was whenyou ended the previous conversation. The opening should not,

  • ask for a decision: “ ... calling to see if you’re ready to buy now ..."

  • be simply reactive: “ ... and I was just checking to see if you had any questions ...”

  • be a quality test of the postal service or their internal mail handling: “... wanted to see if you received the material I sent...”

  • First, your follow-up call needs to be based upon an objective for this call. When you think about it logically, there must have been some reason why you’ve agreed to follow up, right? (If not, this might be a sign you’re getting the brush-off from lots of folks, causing you to waste time chasing shadows. For example, “Well, just call me back in about six weeks.”)

    Good reasons for following up include either,

  • they were to do something between the last call and the scheduled fol- low-up that would make this call worthwhile, or,

  • a future event would take place that would make the follow-up more appropriate, such as a new budget year beginning.

  • The opening needs to bring them into a conversation that readdresses the hot points fueling their interest last call, and also serves to move the process closer to the ultimate action you’re seeking (the sale).

    Follow-Up Opening Format

    Here’s a simple format for the opening.

    1. Identification.The less the familiarity, the more formality. If you’ve only spoken once, first and last names and your company should be included. If you’re well acquainted, you be the judge as to what sounds appropriate.

    2. Bridge.Again, you want to bring them back to a point they were emotionally when you ended. You often need to remind them of their interest and the previous call. Use words like,

    “ ... calling to continue our conversation from two weeks ago ...”

    "... I’d like to pick up where we left off ...”

    “ ... calling to resume our discussion of ...”

    Mention what their main interest was.

    ” ... where we went through the savings you’d show with internal management of your ...”

    3. The Agenda for This Call.This part needs to be proactive:

    “I’d like to go through the material I sent you to point out the specific cost-cutting features that apply specifically...”

    Other proactive words and phrases include,

  • “discuss”

  • “analyze”

  • “cover”

  • review

  • “walk through”

  • Remember, you’re not calling to just check in, or slap them with a goofy question like, “Well, what’d you think? Are you ready now?”

    You also should bring something new to the table ... some value- added reason for this call, beyond what was covered last time. This way, if their interest has waned since the last contact, and/or they didn’t follow through with what they said they’d do (which happens quite often) you still have a basis for continuing this contact. For example,

    “And I also did some research and came up with a few other examples of something you showed interest in the last time we spoke: how other engineering firms have used this process.”

    The opening is a small, but integral part of the follow-up contact. When well prepared and executed, it takes them to the next phase of the call, which is your questioning.

    (This is just one of the hundreds of tips and scripting suggestions you'll get in the two-book set of "How to Sell More, In Less Time, With NO Rejection-Using Common Sense Telephone Techniques- Volumes 1 and 2. And for just a limited time you can get them at a discount, along with a special offer.  ( See the special offer and order right now.)