1 year ago
April 18, 2016

How to Follow Up After a Bad Sales Call

Making a follow up on a bad sales call can be one of the most difficult things you’ll do as a sales person.

Rhys Metler

Making a follow up on a bad sales call can be one of the most difficult things you’ll do as a sales person, even putting aside the psychological stress that comes from the task. Figuring out what to say and how to say it to allay the damage you (or a team member) have inadvertently caused can be as difficult as making ten fresh sales, but that doesn’t mean you should cut your losses and move on. Leaving bad sales calls alone can lead to more trouble than a single lost sale-unhappy people talk about the companies that made them unhappy, and it’s nearly impossible to sell to someone that’s heard bad things about your from a friend or acquaintance. So let’s discuss recovering, preparing, and making that fateful follow up.

Consider your data.

Before you even think about making a follow up call, you need to stop and look at what information you’ve managed to gather on the prospect. If you’re taking notes and collecting metrics like you should be, you should be able to gain quite a bit of insight into what went wrong. This is worth looking into even if you think you know why you call went bad-the obvious problem isn’t always the real problem, and according the obvious solution can be the completely useless. So start at the data, the hard ‘why’ of your bad sales call.

Look at your process. 

Did you deviate from your process during the bad sales call? Depending on how far from your typical process you went and how much data you typically collect, you’ve either learned a valuable lesson for future sales or lost yourself in the woods, so to speak. Consider your process carefully. Based on where you messed up, are there tweaks you can make moving forward to shore up the problem areas created by the bad sales call?

For example, if you’ve fallen on your face while trying to convince a prospect that you’re better than the competition, you need to work on that moving forward, or you’ll lose the client-either before the sale, or afterward when they start to second guess buying from you. A flexible sales process should have paths for reinforcing weaknesses in the pitch late in the game; if you don’t have that sort of flexibility built in to your current process, lesson learned.

Room to breathe.

Regardless of what you need to do when you get the client back on the phone, you need to give yourself room to reset. You’re on a tight deadline, of course, since a bad sales call can set a consumer searching for alternatives in a hurry, but you still need to slow down and get yourself together. The follow up sales call shouldn’t be a big problem in and of itself, if you take the time to prepare. So take the time to prepare.

When you’ve regained your morale, know exactly what went wrong, and know exactly needs to be done to undo your errors, then you can make the call. Until then, sit on your hands and think, think, think. One call going bad cools a consumer off. Two bad calls in a row gets you cut off forever.

Focus on relationship building.

Being a consumer’s favorite sales person for their favorite company goes much, much further in the long term than selling to that same consumer as quickly as possible. This becomes doubly important when you’ve already messed up your process with a bad call. Focus your follow up on developing a buyer-seller bond above all else. You want the consumer to WANT to overlook the problem call, WANT to buy from you despite what went wrong. You don’t to rush through a sale and have them immediately regret it-unhappy customers hurt sales even more than failed sales in the long term.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.