Instead of wasting time with a long, drawn out intro, let's jump right in:

Give your customer the feeling of control

People feel more in control when they say no. So start the conversation by saying, “Did I catch you at a bad time?” Even if it’s not a good time, most people say "No" because it make them feel in control. This is well documented in Chris Voss’ book, “Never Split the Difference”.

If it IS a bad time, your customer will tell you. And if this is the case, SCHEDULE the next call now!

Start strong 

Always have a REASON for calling. The best way to say this is, "The reason I’m calling is....” this may not seem like a big deal, but you will sound way more confident than saying, “I’m 'just' calling to follow up on....”


If your customer talks in a fast pace and doesn’t do small talk, then get right to the point. If your custom loves talking about their weekend and current events, then join in. Mirroring your customer's mood and speed will pay off. Just make sure you know exactly what you’re going to say to the speed talker- they can throw you off if you’re not prepared. 

Prepare for rejection

This is STILL one of my biggest weakness because I have a tendency to just pick up the phone and start dialing. But you HAVE to be prepared for rejection. Particularly for a price rejection, if that comes up often for you. In fact, you should have a step by step process for when you get a price objection. You know it’s coming right? Be prepared for it. 


Prepare to take the order 

If your customer says, “Yeah let’s get the order going!”, are you ready to take the order? What all information do you need? Do you need a signed contract? Don’t fumble through this, especially with a new customer. You want every interaction to be as seamless as possible for the BEST customer experience. If you do that, they will be back for more. 

Always leave a message and announce when you will call back 

If you get voicemail, ALWAYS leave a message. Yes, I know a lot of people don’t listen to them. Leave one anyway. And in the voicemail, announce when you will call back. The more specific the better. Just make sure you keep your word and call back when you said you would. 

Rule of 2 

If you get voicemail, send a text or an email. This reduces the friction for your customer to respond. If the person you are trying to reach is in a meeting, they probably won’t pick up your call, but they might respond to a text. If you only leave a voicemail, it takes MORE effort for your customer to call you back later. Make it EASY on your customer to communicate back to you and you will hear back WAY more often. 


If you wait even a couple of days to follow up after sending a proposal, it might be too late. Get on the phone as fast as you can after you send the proposal to find out where you stand. In fact, it might make sense to call just moments BEFORE you send anything over to make sure you are quoting the right scope, and then you can offer a verbal price to keep the deal moving along.


Which follow up strategy d0 you need to work on most? 

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Brad Telker
Vice President of Commercial Sales at cfm Distributors, Inc.

Brad joined the cfm team in 2006, and now as the Vice President of Commercial Sales, he focuses on business development, as well as helping contractors and engineers find creative and unique solutions to any size HVAC project. When he’s not at work, Brad enjoys photography, running and spending time with his family.