What successful salespeople do after the first sales call

Many years ago, Honeywell did some in-depth analysis to work out why some salespeople were more successful than others.  Skill aside, there was one activity that stood out and it came at the early stages of the sales cycle.  You’ll never guess what this was.

All of the successful salespeople wrote a letter to their sales prospect immediately after the first face-to-face meeting, highlighting what was discussed, summarising the benefits of their solution against the prospective needs and the agreed set of actions to follow.

Not especially mind-blowing perhaps.  But it does highlight several important points:

  • In my experience, most salespeople do not put in that extra effort to give them that edge. Composing a letter like this takes time.
  • Done well, the letter demonstrates to the prospect that you listened, understood their needs and can solve them. You are starting to build the trust that a consultative sale requires.
  • It’s a great way to qualify the prospect! Any misconceptions are brought out early on.  Conversely, if the prospect confirms all the points made, you have a firm assessment of the sales qualification.  In the long run, this effort will actually save time across the sales cycle.

If you want to increase your chances, you should do this too.  Nowadays, we’ll use email to do this (although I have a view that a physical letter can still sometimes be more effective – certainly it will be a differentiator against any competition).  Rather than the perfunctory holding statement of “thanks for your time, we’ll be in touch…” normally done, use the above structure to compose a more detailed letter.

I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results!

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