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Seven Ways to Motivate Salespeople to Follow Up Inquiries

The following is an excerpt from: James Obermayer, Managing Sales Leads: Turning Cold Prospects Into Hot Customers, (Mason, Ohio, Textere an imprint of Thomson/South-Western, 2007) and Racom Books, Page 167.

Seven Ways to Motivate Salespeople to Follow Up Inquiries

1. Greed: They will make more money. Talk to more people and they will sell more product. It is a simple law of averages.

2. Fear: They must make quota. Sometimes sales reps need to be reminded that a sales quota is a contract between the salesperson and the company. In order to make quota, they must sell product at a predictable level, which can only be done if they speak to more people than the number of customers who must be converted every year. A constant flow of new prospects helps them do this.

3. More fear: It's a condition of employment. The only certain way a salesperson will understand and comply with your 100% follow-up rule is if the rule is a condition of employment. It should be stated in the job description that each salesperson reads and signs upon joining the sales department. While all of the reasons cited here are important, this is the reason they most often respond to.

4. Guilt: Inquiries are expensive. Salespeople must be told that each inquiry costs the company $50 to $1,000. If they only follow up 50%, they are wasting 50% of the company's money being spent on their behalf.

5. More guilt: They will disappoint potential customers. The suspect who has contacted the company expects to be contacted. The first test of a company's responsiveness to a potential customer's needs is to ask for information and get it (either from the literature or a personal contact from a salesperson). If the salesperson doesn't follow up 100%, those inquirers not followed up will be disappointed in the company and the company's brand name (and, ultimately, the individual sales rep) will suffer. Remember the last time you got bad service at a restaurant? Afterward, did you say the waitress was to blame or did you blame the restaurant? Probably both, but the restaurant's name definitely comes up.

6. Exclusivity: Only the salesperson can close out the inquiry. No one in the company except the sales representative can accurately report back on the inquiry resolution. With all of the effort and money being spent to find the prospect, the success or failure of marketing hinges on the inquiry resolution from each salesperson. Only the salespeople's accumulated opinions for each inquiry, when added together and judged by source, will tell management if the money they spent on marketing was successful. That is a lot of responsibility.

7. Deliverance: Now marketing will stop asking. If they close out the inquiries, everyone will stop bothering them.


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