Tuesday, March 7, 2017

"Follow-Up Helps Make The Sale, But Only If It's Sincere"

We are constantly meeting people who are candidates for what we offer. Some we meet on our own through casual contact and conversations as we go about our daily business. Some we see at a home show where we are exhibiting. Some are referred to us specifically by health care professionals for our help. Some are sent to us by our strategic partners. Some find us through our website, social media, or other marketing.

There isn't one magical way that we find leads to pursue for our businesses, and of course, not every lead turns into a sale. As great as that might sound on the surface, it's not really desirable because we would have way too much work and too much at any one time to manage effectively.

The key to making sales is follow-up. However we might meet someone initially and then have a conversation with them about their needs, budget, time frame to have the project completed, and other parameters we have to work within - including how it aligns with our business model - there is one simple fact we must face. Not everyone will turn into a sale.

Some people we meet with and talk to about the project they envision will never get to the point that they can give us the authorization to move forward with it. Some will end up choosing someone else to help them. Some will try to do the project themselves. Some will talk themselves out of the necessary repairs and improvements. Some will say yes to us right away. Some will take weeks to make up their mind for us to get started.

How do we hold everything together during this long and sometimes complicated review process where the decision to move forward can sometimes get sidetracked? Through effective follow-up.

The type of follow-up we are talking about here is conversation with potential clients that facilitates the decision. This is not weak contact that is done just for the sake of "touching base" or asking people if they have any questions without any more substance to it than that.

It's understandable that some people are going to need time to reach a decision, that they are going to want to confer with trusted friends and family members about the proposed improvements and the expenditure of money, or that they make decisions very slowly and cautiously. That's why we follow-up with them - to help them feel comfortable in working with us and in making a decision to move forward with a project that will enhance their quality of life.

We understand that it can take several meetings before an agreement for services is signed by the client. We want the process to proceed quickly, but often it does not. We have to be patient, and we need to be both diligent and sincere in our messaging and contacts.

People can see through insincerity, such as saying we left a phone message or dropped something off for them to review when they know we didn't, or telling them that we have been trying to reach them when they suspect otherwise. Let's remember that trust and credibility are two huge intangibles that we have working for us when we do things right and two strikes against us when we are not believable.

Follow-up done well can reinforce a sales presentation and help it move forward to a successful conclusion. Done poorly, or not at all, it can end any chance of a decision in our favor.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.