Final Presentations, The Finish Line

    October 4, 2005

After days or weeks of preparation, after a strong presentation, don’t drop the ball as you near the finish line. How you follow up after your sales presentation will help you get across the line.

Within one day, call to thank the client (your contact). If you don’t reach your client (after a few tries leave a voice mail). Be fully prepared: thank, compliment the client’s team, concisely (in 20 seconds) summarizing your benefits and commitment to support the client in meeting his/her objectives. If you do get to speak with the client, ask for feedback and use it during the call to reposition as necessary and also in your follow-up thank you e-mail or letter.

Within a day, also send a follow-up e-mail or letter (depending on client culture, time frames, enclosures) to every client at the presentation.

One core letter for most client participants in the presentation is fine, but check your notes from the presentation (hopefully you have jotted down the name of the person who asked a particular question or made a particular point) and tailor each letter to each client’s interest. The only time not to follow up with each client at the presentation is when the client clearly directs contact with only a particular person. Even then, if you ask if you may send a thank you note to each member after the presentation, most clients won’t object.

Be sure to fully tailor your letter to the key decision maker.

Think of additional ways to remain in contact. For example, the presentation is October 17, but the decision won’t be made until the first week of November and the client says, “Call me then.” Don’t leave such a void between the presentation and your contact with the client. Find ways to maintain contact between mid August and early September. Be creative. You can mention in the follow-up thank you phone call that you’d like to check in in a week or so to see if he/she needs additional information, you can send a relevant article, make a touch-base call leaving a message, ask a member of your executive team to call the client thanking him/her for the opportunity and reinforce how excited the team is about the prospect of supporting the client, and pledge his/her commitment. What happens after the presentation makes a difference and can impact who wins!

Linda Richardson: President and CEO of Richardson, training consultants to corporations, banks, and investment banks globally. Richardson has 110 professionals, 15 regional offices in the United States, and presence in London, Australia, Singapore, Latin America, and Asia. Clients of Richardson include KPMG, Federal Express, General Mills, Tiffany & Co., Dell Computer, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Citibank, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, and Kinko’s. Visit

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