As the years go by, I become more convinced of this selling truth:
Not enough of us salespeople keep lists of customers and prospects and quotes and proposals.
I call them money lists. Money lists include lists of quotes that are outstanding that require a follow-up.
At one of my distributor clients, one of their locations was averaging around a 20% close rate on quotes. Then, this one location (out of about 35) started keeping a simple list, in Microsoft Excel, of outstanding quotes.
The list included the quote number, the company name, the customer name, the contact information, and product(s) purchased, and the dollar amount. Then, every ensuing column detailed the follow-ups: included were date of followup, the person who followed up (because anyone can do this, not just the original salesperson), and a note detailing what happened.
What did keeping such a list do to the close rate, you may ask? It went up to more than 80% from 20%. It quadrupled. Can I interest you in this?
Money lists can also simply be a pile of outstanding quotes, on your passenger car seat, or at your desk, for you to call on. One client’s salesperson said that as a part of my project with his firm, he started printing out his outstanding quotes before he gets in the car to go drive and see a customer. While he drives, he said, he calls to follow up on them.
“How many do you close,” I asked.
“Pretty much all of them,” he said.
“How many were you closing before?”
Can I interest you in that?
Money lists can be thoughtful lists of who to call proactively. They are created quickly as a part of my Selling Boldly consulting projects with clients. Salespeople write them out in 5 minutes or so, at the start of each week.
They include some of the following categories:
- Customers I haven’t talked to in six months or more. This is a genius category of people to call, because they’re buying, but they haven’t heard from you in a while. And odds are basically certain that they could benefit from more of your products and service.
- Customers who used to buy but stopped.
- Customers who just got an order delivered who you could check in with in a customer service capacity, but then ask them what else they need.
- Prospects who you know are buying from competition.
Our address book, or CRM, keeps names and phone numbers, but it will not tell us who to call. That’s only something you can do with a bit of proactive planning. This is to be done in a matter of minutes, not hours or days. What happens to my clients who regularly call customers and prospects proactively? The majority of those customers and prospects give them more business. That’s right, the majority. Can I interest you in that?
Why is it this way? Why do these kinds of money lists make us so much, well, money? Because we tend to work reactively. We tend to answer the phone, and solve the problem that awaits us there. That’s when people call, right? They call when something is wrong. They rarely call to tell you what a great job you’re doing. That’s because that isn’t urgent.
So we spend 100% of our time taking orders, or dealing with problems that our customers bring us. This is reactive work. We are at the total mercy of what’s incoming. If the right inquiries come in, we will grow. But if they don’t, we won’t. It’s totally out of our control.
But if we spend a few minutes each week proactively thinking through who to call and follow up with – and then actually make those multi-minute follow-ups – we are now in complete control of our growth. We are being proactive. We are in front of our customers when the competition is not. We are showing them we care. We are present. We are interested. And that’s all they really want. And they will thank us with their money.
Make your money lists. And enjoy the sales growth.