The Follow-Up

A fact of life for any designer, regardless of ability or experience, is the initial sales call that goes unclosed. Designers should be prepared for this and able to respond. Experience has shown few designers will close more than 50% of their leads on the initial appointment. Completing call backs effectively is essential to increase a designer’s closing rate. Thus, strategy and organization are critical to an effective follow-up procedure.

Several stages are involved in follow-up calls. The following sections provide guidance so the time and effort of the design staff will not be wasted by a lack of organization or purpose. Knowing the original investment in time and money per lead, the dealer must monitor the follow-up program if the desired results are to be attained. The lead turned into an appointment is our most important resource; converting it to a sale is the most important goal.

Note: If you have closed the sale at the customer’s home, do not ignore the follow-up call. This is a good time to contact the customer to make sure the installation was successful and answer any other questions they may have about the organizer. This helps solidify the buyer-seller relationship and will help increase referrals.


Before the sales call is finished the objective is a smooth transition from the initial sales appointment to setting the conditions and time for the follow-up call.

Review and clarify the customer’s questions and objections. By reviewing these elements, you accomplish these objectives:

  • You reaffirm your understanding of why the sale wasn’t made.
  • You require the customer to respond to design objections and help the customer discern facts from false conceptions.

The next step is to set a specific follow-up date and time. The call back should be as soon as possible to minimize the potential of competitive bids and to maintain the enthusiasm of the original presentation. A timely follow-up communicates a professional and caring attitude towards your customer and their space.


The Designer Daybook and the Customer Follow-up Sheet are used to create a brief, yet comprehensive record of each sales call. The purpose is to establish a closing strategy based on the information from the initial sales call.

  1. The Customer Follow-Up Sheet (use one sheet per call) is completed directly following the initial sales call. Designers must take the time, prior to the next appointment, to fill out this form with the pertinent data. Waiting until the end of the day or until returning to the office, increases the chance for error.

  2. The following items should be noted after every sales call:
  • Key Questions: What questions seemed to be most important to this particular customer? (price, material, hanging vs. shelving, etc.)
  • Objections: Since the sale went unclosed, what were the specific objections given? (Wanted to talk with my partner, too much money, didn’t like design, etc.)

5. Observations: What personal observations are pertinent to this sale? Did your conversation reveal any information about the customer that will help you personalize the call back (eg: family names, house décor, particular wardrobe items, etc.)


By preparing a strategy, the designer is able to start the follow-up call on a positive note:

  • Highlight and review the original presentation of the design elements with the customer.
  • Knowing what the customer wants allows you to focus on the solution to those needs.
  • Ask for the sale – For example, “Excellent, Ms. Smith. Now that we’ve agreed on the design, let’s schedule the installation. How’s Friday?” Or, using the direct query: “In that case, Mr. Williams, what can we do to get your closet installed for you this week?”

The Designer Daybook

The daybook is for short-term lead organization and management. The design plan package and follow-up data should not accumulate for more than one week. At the end of the one week period, the package is either forwarded to production or put in the office house book for further action.

Follow-Up Review and Checklift

1. Before the call is over

  • Review / re-cap design
  • Review / clarify stated objections
  • Set follow-up appointment/call-back

2. Complete Customer Follow-Up Sheet

Do this before continuing to your next appointmnet

  • Obstacles to the sale
  • Customer’s personal preferences
  • Preliminary strategies

3. Prior to Follow-Up Call or Appointment

  • Review all comments
  • Formulate clear responses to objections
  • Finalize a strategy in your mind

4. Scenario for Follow-Up or Appointment

  • Highlight presentation and design
  • Overcome objections

Was this helpful?

Previous Article

Closing The Sale