I am a big fan of phone follow up and an even bigger fan of creating a great rapport with my prospects within the first 6 seconds of the call. The rapport can be squelched very quickly by one simple phrase: “Have you had a chance to look at it yet?”
Some great lead generation marketing methods include sending something to your prospect in the mail. This might be a direct mail letter, brochure, success story, or some other nurture marketing piece that reminds them of your company and your services. When following up on this marketing collateral please keep in mind that this piece should be used primarily as a reference tool to help you get in the door. All you want to on the follow-up call is make sure it arrived and the Decision Maker is aware it arrived. It’s a reference. So reference it, and then move on to the point of your call.
Have you found yourself using one of these three deadly phrases on your follow up call?
- “I sent you some information in the mail last week, have you had a chance to look at it?”
- “…have you had a chance to read it?”
- “…have you had time to go over the material?”
Now while this seems perfectly normal and natural, it is a detrimental mistake and causes immediate major problems.
First, this one simple question puts the prospect on the immediate defense. If they have not received the material (which is normally the case) or if they do not remember the material at the moment, the question puts pressure on the prospect to have to defend why they have not done so. This leads your prospect to reply with something like:
- “Well, I’ve been really busy….” Or “I’ve been out of town…” or “…I just haven’t had time to get around to it yet…”
What’s worse is that now you are one the phone with your Decision Maker and in the first few seconds you have to establish rapport, build trust and get them to like you have managed to put them on the defense making them explain why they are holding things up. It creates an immediate adversarial atmosphere and the prospect puts up guards and prepares to do battle, or worse, hang up as soon as possible.
To avoid this horrible start to your follow-up calls, simply rephrase that question. Instead of putting the responsibility to read the literature on the prospect, simply ask if they have received the letter and move on. You might end up saying something like:
- “I mailed some information to you last week, do you know if it arrived safely?”
- “….did it ever get around to your desk?”
Regardless of their response, now you can move on with the reason for your call saying something like:
“Good, I’m glad it made it there, take a look at that when you get a chance, it has some information that you might be interested in regarding your (fill in the blank). Anyhow, the main reason I was calling….” And now you can explain the reason for your call and move on to set an appointment.