Using Follow Up Effectively

Do you attempt to follow up with prospective buyers because they haven’t contacted you when you thought they should? Do you know what is stopping them from contacting you? Or where they are along their decision path – their steps from idea to consensus, from change to choice, that buyers must address – while we sit and wait, hoping they’ll close?

With a focus on understanding need and placing solutions, you may have no idea what stage they are at: did you originally connect when they were first considering possibly fixing something? Or when they were comparing your solution to an internal workaround or their favorite vendor? Were they just seeking information to share at a planning session? I bet you don’t have all the data on this.

Buyers Don’t Want Us Even When They Need Our Solution

We tend to think buyers need our solution, but that’s only a part of the issue. They don’t really want to buy anything, merely to solve a problem. And they always start out by trying to find a way to fix the problem themselves (When we think they are stalling, this is what’s going on that we don’t see.); it’s only when they realize that a workaround isn’t sufficient, or their internal folks can’t resolve the problem, or their regular vendors aren’t around, or or or… are they willing to buy.

But they have work to do before they are ready – and cannot not buy, regardless of how great a fit your solution is with their need, until these steps are completed (and all sizes/types of solutions require some form of these):

  1. They must assemble anyone who will touch the final solution, (not obvious)
  2. get buy in and consensus from both decision makers and influencers, (not easy)
  3. manage any change a solution will bring. (complicated, even with a small sale).

Price is not the issue. Competition with other providers is not the problem. The problem is how they will manage the internal change your solution incurs (separate from the benefits of your solution). Read my article on the complete list of steps buyers must take before they can buy.

If you want to facilitate their decision making, and your prospect is aware they need your solution and they seem to be stalling, call with these questions:

  • What would you and your decision team need to address to manage the types of change that would be required by purchasing our solution?
  • How will you and the decision team know that an external solution might be more effective and efficient than an internal workaround?

I’ve developed Buying Facilitation® to use in conjunction with the sales model to give you the tools to help buyers manage the necessary steps to be ready to buy your solution. Use your follow up contact to help them figure out how to resolve any of these issues that might cause them to be stuck. Your solution is perfect for them; they just need help getting their ducks in a row so they can give you the order.


About the Author

Sharon Drew Morgen is a visionary, original thinker, and thought leader in change management and decision facilitation. She works as a coach, trainer, speaker, and consultant, and has authored 9 books including the NYTimes Business BestsellerSelling with Integrity. Morgen developed the Buying Facilitation® method (www.sharondrewmorgen.com) in 1985 to facilitate change decisions, notably to help buyers buy and help leaders and coaches affect permanent change. Her newest book What? www.didihearyou.com explains how to close the gap between what’s said and what’s heard. She can be reached at [email protected]

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