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The Biggest Mistake I Ever Made (Over And Over Again)

     When I was getting my freelance copywriting business off the ground, I had some serious obstacles that were standing between me and where I wanted to go.
You could say I had some things working against me.
I didn't have a whole lot of confidence. I wasn't comfortable talking about money. And I had this unending urge to please other people... even at my own expense. I quickly found out that all of these traits are bad things in business.
So I started reading every book I could find on selling. I needed a crash course on how to sell myself. Almost every book I read said the same thing about what it takes to succeed selling your own services. It takes follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. The key to success in sales is follow-up. You've GOT to follow-up.
Being a "good student" type of person, that's what I did. I followed-up. If a prospect called about my services, I followed-up. If I got a new email subscriber downloading information about my services, I followed-up. I was doing what all the experts said I should do, but it wasn't working. At least not enough of the time. The funniest part was, the more I "followed-up," the farther away my prospect seemed to move.
"I'll call in a week to follow-up..."
But the prospect wouldn't return the call.
"I'll check in a few weeks from now to see where you're at."
But the prospect was never available.
"Give me some time to think it over. Call me next week," the prospect would say.
And then the prospect would disappear.
It took me a while to figure out what was wrong. But eventually I DID figure it out. And what I figured out was that all of the sales "experts" were WRONG about following-up. Following-up with your prospect is a mistake... IF you know what you're doing. Follow-up is unnecessary IF you know how to sell. (I didn't.)
Here's the key:
You NEVER end a conversation with a prospect without knowing exactly what is going to happen next and when it's going to happen. And you get firm agreement from the prospect on all the details.
"Follow-up" is the wishy-washy meaningless term I used when I had no clue what was going to happen next. I didn't know because I didn't have the guts or foresight to ask my prospect for the information.
How are you supposed to figure out what's going to happen next with your prospect?
You ask.
So here's one way you could do it:
Mr. Prospect... I've enjoyed talking to you today and I think I might be able to help you solve the problem we discussed. But Mr. Prospect, let me ask you a question. Often I have a long conversation with a potential client, things go well... and we arrange a second conversation to discuss all of the details.
But sometimes, when I go to follow-up, my potential client kind of just disappears and stops returning my calls. So I just want to make sure that's not going to happen here. After all I don't want to waste your time or mine.
So if you think there's a chance of that happening, could we just talk about it now, before we end this conversation? [You talk, he talks, you get clear on his intentions.]
Mr. Prospect, just one more thing. When I call you next week like we agreed, what's going to happen? [And then you stop talking. What he says next is going to give you a clue about whether there's a potential sale in your future.]
I've come to realize that "follow-up" is simply sales-speak for chasing your prospects. And chasing after prospects isn't a smart way to turn them into clients. When you chase people, they tend to run away.

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Posted on 2013-07-11, By: *

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Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author.

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