In today’s busy world, it’s easy to get side-tracked and forgetful. In sales — and in recruiting — keeping track of calls with prospects is critical to success.
It may take several calls, spread over several weeks or months, to close business. But how do you keep track of your calls? How do you ensure that you are moving forward and gaining commitment with each call?
Here are three tips to help you become better at following up and moving prospects and candidates forward.
Tip #1: Make use of existing tracking systems to get in the habit of documenting each call
This might seem kind of basic, but sometimes we leave too much to memory or make assumptions about our “best intentions” for following up from our calls. Remember, as soon as you hang up “life happens.”
Make it a point to use a call tracking system or customer relationship management tool to document each contact, rather than depending on various “post-its”, other random jottings or (yikes!) memory.
The best system to use is the one you are most likely to use on a daily basis — or are already using — to track applicants. Try to leverage existing systems, rather than add new ones just to track prospect progress.
For example, if you use Taleo already as your ATS, find ways to incorporate notes in Taleo that help you track prospects — rather than trying to introduce other software or systems. Keeping it simple will increase the likelihood that you will be able to develop the habit of tracking your calls.
#2: Document action items
If your call requires follow up, be sure to capture any action items. The best way to build trust is to be diligent about following up. A best practice is to also include a time frame with each action item you document. Nothing kills rapport and trust more than missing commitments. Prospects expect you to know how to quickly and efficiently manage follow-up items.
Another benefit of documenting and tracking action items is that you demonstrate to your prospect that your are organized and professional. Remember that we are all “crazy-busy” and things can drop off our already-too-full plates. Your organized and efficient handling of action items can actually be a competitive advantage for you.
Tip #3: Use the “buying decision” as your frame of reference
It’s easy to track candidates with “seller-focused” milestones. For example, “1st screening interview” or “sent assessment” or “Initial call”. But these milestones don’t tell you exactly how you need to move a prospect forward — especially a passive candidate.
Instead, get in the habit of documenting where your prospect is in the decision-making process. This practice will help you know exactly where to pick up on your follow-up calls and how to build commitment in a way that acknowledges where your prospect is in the decision-making process.
For example, let’s say you had an initial conversation with a passive candidate and determined that the prospect might be open to making a career move for the right opportunity. You would document the call by noting the person is open to discussing a move — as well as any other key, relevant points you discovered on your initial call.
You would also document at this point that you have set up a 2nd call (noting, of course, date, time, etc) AND that your next step (call objective) would be to discover/identify the key “pain points” or job motivators that would need to be present for the person to make a change.
The point is that you keep careful notes about what you learn about your prospect and how you are helping that person make an informed career decision. Your notes should help you develop each subsequent call objective.
When you document your calls — using the decision-making process as your frame of reference — you are also giving yourself a nice road map for helping ensure you have commitment along the way. Always keep in mind that the conversation is not as much about you or “your process” as it is about them — AND the steps they need to go through to ensure they are comfortable making an important decision.
So get in the habit of quickly and accurately capturing information about each call and turning your notes into a key competitive advantage. Keep your focus on your prospect’s decision-making process and you will ensure that you are able to quickly and efficiently gain commitment and close those “rock star prospects”!
To your success.
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