Follow Up Strategies for Industrial Selling Engineers

Follow Up Strategies for Industrial Selling

Have you ever heard of Joe Girard?

Well, for 44 years, Joseph Samuel Girard was considered the best car salesman in the world. In the year of 1973 alone, he sold 1,425 Chevrolet cars, a record he held until 2017, when fellow Chevrolet salesman, Ali Reda, surpassed him with 1,582 cars. Reda had been reading all of Girard’s books and sales training material!

In fact, Girard holds the Guinness World Record for being the greatest salesman in the world. He sold 13,001 cars at the Chevrolet dealership between 1963 and 1978.

Want to know one of the top secrets Girard used to sell that many cards?

He sent personal cards to every prospect and lead he came in contact with as a follow up strategy. He paid two assistants on his own dime to mail 13,000 greeting cards a month to his customers covering holidays from Halloween to Groundhog Day, according to the Detroit News. It is reported that Joe commissioned an artist to draw up 12 cards, which means these were personalized and unique cards, and then mail them out.

That’s all he did. He would send out one card every month. Each card had the same message, “I like you.” And he didn’t just do it with cars. He also sold houses, boats, and other big ticket items as well.

In short, Joe Girard became the #1 car salesman in the world by mastering the practice of follow up.

What Would that Mean For You?

Don’t even worry about becoming the #1 industrial selling engineer in the world. Just imagine closing 3 times more sales this year. What would that mean for you, in terms of income gains as an industrial salesman / saleswoman? How much money would you make in 2024 if you tripled your sales?

With 3X the income life IS better, right? So, let’s translate Girard’s follow-up strategy into today’s terms so you can close a lot more sales this year and beyond. We’ll discuss follow-up strategies for industrial selling engineers.

Watch the 42-minute YouTube sales engineering training:

Industrial Marketing-Advanced Automation in a CRM

Commit to a Follow Up System

Many manufacturing sales professionals have heard that they should be following up with their leads, prospects, and past customers, but most don’t act on that knowledge. That’s the first and primary thing that separates the extraordinary from the average salesperson. Most people are just tire kickers and not action takers. In other words, they kick around ideas about doing this or that but do NOT get to the part where they implement and get results.

The first thing you’ve got to do is commit to implementing a follow up system now, because you’ll get the results you want when you act on what you learn.

When most industrial sales people get a new lead, they only follow up two to three times, max. But the top tier industrial sales professionals know that the money is in the follow up – so they have systematized the work of following up. Following up is an entire function in their sales funnel process.

And they’re smart for doing so. Qualified leads, prospects, and past customers are precious. They should be valued as your very best opportunity for future sales. If you had to rank them, past customers are the number one most valued opportunity for future sales. Then prospects who have received a pitch or proposal, and finally, leads you have collected from events or who have joined your email list.

Your Number #1 Target for New Money

Still, once the average industrial selling engineer makes a sale, they don’t follow up – assuming the well has run dry. This is a big mistake. Instead, you should target past customers as your primary well for new water…or new sales…whatever you’re into.

One of the best-selling principles I ever learned that applies to industrial selling professionals is to “convert the converted.”

In other words, start with past customers and sell them more stuff. You can cross sell other products. Past and current customers should be the first to hear about new product launches that are happening in your business. Big business knows this very well. That’s why when we went on a cruise by one of the top brands, we started receiving juicy deals at bargain basement prices to get us BACK on another cruise ship, almost immediately. More than three years after that vacation, we still get direct mailings and emails offering deals to get us back.

You know the saying, “You’re preaching to the choir.” Well, that preacher is smart – he knows who pays the bills and keeps the lights on, so he focuses his attention on them!

So should you as an industrial selling professional. Instead of dismissing past customers, build a deeper relationship with them to build your industrial sales career. Give them preference and go the extra mile for them. Roll out the red carpet in your follow up marketing campaign so you can convert the converted.

CRM Follow-Up

While you should prioritize current and past customers in your follow-up marketing campaign, you certainly cannot forget about warm leads. While some industrial selling engineers still use spreadsheets to keep track of their leads, you should retire this practice, if you’re using it. Seriously, you should wrap the cord tightly around your hand, and pull the plug on that lead management strategy! That goes for ambitious industrial selling professionals who want to reach their full potential.

Instead, you should purchase a CRM system. A CRM system will allow you to upload all your contacts into it, manage, track, and communicate with your growing list of leads. You can send and schedule email follow-up automations. You can track people on your list by actions they have taken. If they have opened an email or if they have clicked a link, you will know and be able to target this group of warmer leads with more direct actions, such as making a phone call to them.

At MFG Tribe and ISU, we recommend HubSpot as the most robust, intuitive, and effective CRM tool available for industrial selling engineers. It tracks sales and marketing activities from one integrated platform. The platform also has AI tools that are integrated to make email writing and campaign build out easy to execute on.

Next Steps

You should develop follow-up campaigns for current and past customers, as well as leads and hot leads you’ve delivered proposals to. You should use a robust tool like HubSpot to map out and execute these campaigns and track the email opens, click throughs, and interactions of leads and target the most active leads with higher level follow up – such as phone calls and text messages. Building out the most robust and high-touch manufacturing sales follow up campaign you can, with a message of “I like you” will go a long way towards helping you to close more sales and build a prosper industrial selling career.

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