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Sales Language: “Follow-Up” — Good or Bad?

sales-follow-up

If there is one phrase that exemplifies the typical sales person the most, it’s the phrase “follow-up”.

You probably use that phrase instinctively, without even thinking about it, especially when you call your prospects after your initial conversation with them.

Until now, you probably never questioned that phrase.

But I bet, if you’ve only been exposed to traditional sales thinking, then my guess is none of the sales books you’ve read or CDs you’ve listened to, ever explained why “follow-up” is a phrase that should be banned from your vocabulary.

You see, the traditional “sales gurus” would think it incomprehensible to question that phrase — because they only operate from a sales mindset of what they themselves have been exposed too.

When you begin to understand that your enemy to making the sale is actually hidden pressure within the sales process — then you start looking for ways to remove that pressure.

Now I’m not talking about overt sales pressure you might experience on a used car lot.

I’m talking about covert pressure imbedded in the words and phrases you use with your prospect.

And you very well know, that it’s human nature to retreat, physically and mentally, when pressure comes our way.

As pressure relates to selling, what happens is your prospects throw up their mental “wall” when they feel you’re not connecting with them or understanding the truth of what they are thinking.

  And when you come from a mindset of focusing on “going for the sale” instead of going for the TRUTH — of whether the sale exists or not — then it becomes virtually impossible to detect  words and phrases you use that contain sales pressure.

So why is the phrase “follow-up” so counter-productive to selling and what pressure-free replacement can you use in its place, to get to the truth of what’s on your prospect’s mind?

Why The Phrase “Follow-Up” Works Against You

Using the phrase “follow-up” works against you because it triggers subtle pressure by creating forward momentum that you hope brings YOU closer to what you want, the sale.

But what if your prospect isn’t ready to go down your sales path?

If he’s not, then you’re calling to “follow-up” becomes transparent for “let’s move you down my process so I can make the sale”.

In most cases, that’s in direct conflict with what he’s wanting to do when you call.

You see, when you expand your mindset to understand that it’s infinitely more pragmatic to get to the truth of whether your prospect REALLY wants to buy from you, then you cut out having to endlessly chase until you find out the sale was never going to happen.

That’s a painful state of realization that most people in sales discover AFTER stressful cycles of thinking their sole mission is to chase prospects in order to make a sale.

Selling certainly doesn’t have to tangle you up in a web of frustration.

Now that we know that your NEW goal of the truth makes better sense than chasing and exerting pressure to make the sale happen, here’s what you can use to connect with your prospect to help them feel safe telling you the truth of what they are thinking:

  “Hi John… I’m just giving you a call to see what your THOUGHTS might be since we spoke last about your [enter their problem here]… and to see if any questions may have come to mind?”

Notice you aren’t trying to get him to think about moving forward, possibly triggering resistance if he isn’t ready?

Instead you’re going BACK to the previous discussion you both had together.

Now, you’ll find that if your initial conversation was focused on a problem that affects him, and you entered that conversation with a mindset of being humble and a “problem-solver” — instead of a “salesperson” — then in most cases you’ll hear the TRUTH of what he’s thinking.

But if your initial conversation started with a sales pitch that didn’t allow him to feel you care and really understand the depth of his issue as it relates to your solution, then he may simply say “No none at this time.”

Hmmm… that certainly is telling isn’t it?

  How well your prospect really trusts you and feels comfortable with you, directly correlates to your ability to make more sales without having to be someone you’re not.

There is a slew of other counter-productive phrases that you may be using unknowingly that puts you in the wrong place with your prospect.

To your success,

Ari Galper

Ari Galper

Ari Galper is the world’s number one authority on trust-based selling and is the most sought-after sales conversion expert for Business Owners. His newest book, “Unlock The Sales Game”, has become an instant best-seller worldwide. Ari has been featured in CEO Magazine, Forbes, INC Magazine and the Australian Financial Review. He is considered a contrarian in the sales industry and in his book, everything you learned about selling will be turned upside down. No more chasing, no pressure, no closing.

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6 Comments

  1. Rebecca

    Thank you Ari, for helping sales-people to be less sales-y! I will never forget the salesman I went on a coffee date with (in a social context) who called me 30 minutes later to “follow up”. His approach most certainly killed any potential he may have had.

  2. Victor B.

    Ari, with all my heart I agree with you. This is a MAJOR paradigm shift in my thinking. BRILLIANT!!!

  3. Omar Aden

    I think it’s great idea not to follow-up, but to just check or get some professional feedback in order to avoid the pressure. Great stuff Ari, keep it coming so we all benefit.

    Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia

  4. Tim Szazynski

    There is a guy named David Allen who is known as a Guru that teaches, “Stress Free Productivity.” Ari without doubt is gaining the reputation as the Guru of “Stress Free Sales.” Everything that I’ve read of this man should be intuitive to all human beings…but it’s not, because we’ve been trained to become a different breed—“salespeople.”

    Elizabethtown, KY

  5. Gavin Watts

    Great stuff Ari. You have helped me and so many others become top performers. There are so many golden nuggets in what you teach. Thank you.

    Australia

  6. Jim Swensen

    Profound. Ari you are truly the next visionary in how selling should be. Let’s hope all the other sales gurus start learning from you. And I’m signing up for your program asap, it’s a no-brainer.

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