One of the most unwelcome chores salespeople find themselves having to do is “babysitting” customers. Traditional sales training won’t cover this topic. It’s more concerned with telling salespeople how to get the sale and move on. In the real world, however, salespeople soon discover they can’t move on. They feel stuck because the situation requires salespeople to prompt “signed” customers to follow through. Traditional sales training underestimates how much a salesperson’s success hinges upon customers following through after the deal is closed. Examples of this are: a customer needing to obtain someone’s signature in order for a sale to go through; an insurance client needing to pay premiums monthly so their policy stays in force; a retailer recommending a salesperson’s product to consumers; and a customer remembering to use a product every chance they get. In many cases, the initial sale is of little value if it isn’t matched later by adequate customer follow through. Whenever customers don’t follow through, salespeople must pick up the slack. It may involve reminding customers to do what they’re supposed to do. It may involve needing to frequently visit customers just to reinforce things already discussed.
It’s difficult to enjoy being a salesperson when you find yourself having to chase after customers for them to follow through. It’s time consuming. It jeopardizes success. Salespeople can’t pursue new business if they’re preoccupied with chasing after customers to follow through. It’s a burn out for salespeople to have to do the legwork that their customers should be doing.
This scenario is also unpleasant for customers. Customers feel the salesperson’s being an annoying “nudge” by constantly reminding them to follow through. This reputation seems very unfair to salespeople. Often times the salesperson is just following up on something the customer initially agreed to act upon.
Why do customers procrastinate on things they initially agreed to follow through on? It’s because their decision to agree was too dependent on the salesperson’s influence. Decisions and agreements, when they’re primarily driven by salesperson influence, leave when the salesperson leaves. The customer’s decision lacks sufficient internalized commitment. Decisions made with less salesperson influence and more customer influence carry a higher degree of the customer’s personal ownership. Customers are more likely to take independent initiative to follow up on decisions they’ve taken personal ownership for.
This automatically happens when salespeople Sell To The Point. Selling To The Point’s Law #7 is: The less a salesperson’s persuasion was involved in a buying-decision, the more internalized that customer’s buying-decision will be. This is because when Salespeople Sell To The Point, their goal involves their customer’s decision-making, rather than their own selling performance. This results in salespeople allowing the buying decision to be as customer derived as possible. A decision that’s customer derived will blend naturally with the customer’s personal beliefs and values. Agreements are no longer about, “what the salesperson wants me to do.” Customers will independently take initiative to follow through just like they follow through on other things they feel are important. This makes a salesperson’s job a lot easier, enjoyable, and more successful.