In any conversation with a prospect, the most important thing isn’t being brilliant, or providing the cheapest solution. The most important part of a sales conversation is what happens after the salesperson hangs up the phone. More opportunities are lost due to lack of follow-up than any other reason.
Think about the last few conversations you, or your team, had with prospects. Most salespeople hope they remember everything they agreed to do after a sales conversation, including making a note of when to be back in touch with that prospect. Instead of hoping that everything you discussed is captured outside your head, and instead of hoping that you remember to fulfill any commitments you made to your prospect, let’s replace hope with certainty.
That system is exactly what Matt Neuman, chief strategy officer at Advisors Excel recently shared with us. Because Matt manages dozens of salespeople who are all having sales conversations each day, he ensures his folks are ‘tactfully tenacious’ after every conversation they have with a prospective client.
Because we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.
T – Trigger: To systemize what happens after a conversation, Matt advises salespeople check in on whether the conversation they had was with a qualified buyer. Depending on what a salesperson defines as a ‘quality lead’, a salesperson will know what the next step for that prospect is in the salesperson’s pipeline.
Once a prospect has been deemed worthy of pursuit, Matt says salespeople should then ‘trigger’ their response sequence. Of course, if something has been promised by the salesperson, that commitment should be entered into their CRM along with a due date to keep it in front of the salesperson.
R – Repeatable: Most CRMs are built for making a response sequence repeatable. Companies spend a lot of time and money in building follow-up and response sequences only to see them go unused. Matt advises that sales leaders determine what metrics the salesperson’s company will review to ensure salespeople are using the response sequence so that they can ensure the sequences are being repeatedly used.
I – Improvable: Matt shared that “without a process, we don’t know where success actually occurred and with a process that doesn’t work, we can revamp or improve the processes we use.” To improve a process, we need to ensure we/our salespeople are first using the follow-up sequences we’ve created.
Once we determine they’re being used, then we can look at what steps in our follow-up sequences are generating the most responses from our prospects. If the second step in the sequence is a phone call, for instance, and that’s generating the most movement forward in the pipeline, we can consider front-loading the phone calls to see if that shortens our sales cycles.
M-Measurable: To measure the effectiveness of a follow-up sequence, Matt advises we take our sales goals and back those numbers into how many conversations we think it will take to generate that goal. From there, we can determine the number of calls we need to make to reach that goal – and tracking the follow-up sequences we’ve triggered is a great way to measure the effectiveness of this powerful system.