"Procrastination is the thief of time".
--- Edward Young
Day Timers, Franklins, Palm Pilots, Blackberry and other time management devices have brought simplicity to our busy lives of business. Unfortunately, writing or typing in your reminders is only the first step. The next is to follow through the items on your to-do list.
Sales are lost daily in our industry because of either poor follow-up calls or none at all. As important as follow-up is, we generally miss opportunities due to a schedule overloaded with fresh sales calls, completing orders and general business activities. We allow follow-ups to get pushed out of our to-do list.
"Perhaps the very best question that you can memorize and repeat, over and over, is, 'what is the most valuable use of my time right now?'"
--- Brian Tracy
A key to keeping on top of your follow-up calls is prioritization. A simple technique to use is to look at your daily tasks in the light of what will make a profit. Think: "Show me the money." Don't get distracted with the small stuff around the shop or office while letting your follow-up calls take second or third or last place. Remember that the follow-up calls provide your bread and butter.
"The leading rule for the lawyer, as for the man of every other calling, is diligence. Leave nothing for to-morrow which can be done to-day."
--- Abraham Lincoln
Of course the things that you are doing daily are important and in most cases, if you don't do them, they won't get done, but most of us could put off a task or two in order to get to that important phone call or visit.
In some cases, the avoidance of the follow-up call is typically not because you are busy, but because of fear. We don't like or want to call that particular prospect back because of the fear of rejection. We've all faced those moments and any sales person who tells you that rejection doesn't bother them hasn't been in sales very long.
"If the Phone Doesn't Ring, It's Me."
--- Jimmy Buffett
The phone call that troubles you the most is probably the one that troubles others in your segment of the sign industry. That prospect is just waiting for someone to solve his problem or sell him your product. Your phone call may be the one he or she has been waiting for. It may as well be you that closes the deal.
"If you don't sell, it's not the product that's wrong, it's you."
--- Estée Lauder
To overcome fears as well as close a sale, try using this approach. When you are giving a presentation, selling on the telephone or one-on-one in your prospect's office, picture your prospect as having the words "So what?" stamped on his forehead. Imagine that for everything you say, the prospect is asking "So what, why should I care?"
Remember, prospects only care about how your product or service can eliminate a problem that they have or help make their business or life better.
"And old Dave, he'd go up to his room, y'understand, put on his green velvet slippers - I'll never forget - and pick up his phone and call the buyers, and without leaving his room, at the age of eighty-four, he made his living. And when I saw that, I realized that selling was the greatest career a man could want."
--- Arthur Miller (1915 - 2005), Death of a Salesman, 1949.
Be sure to look at your to-do list for this week. Rearrange the list so that the follow-up calls get done first. Be sure to include the walk-ins from last week looking for a quote, the business that called because they found you in the phone book and that referral from a friend. Give them the attention they deserve and watch your sales increase.
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