Seven Effective Sales Follow-Up Techniques
Closing a deal typically requires more than one outreach. Most people will not buy immediately after meeting you and hearing what you offer. While you should always aim to make a strong first impression with prospects, your follow-up is equally important. Whether you reach out via phone or email, a sales follow-up is your chance to encourage the prospect to take action.
Many sales professionals do not follow up enough, says Ian Loew, a web entrepreneur and inbound marketing expert. Whether you do not want to come across as pushy or aggressive, or you do not make follow-up a priority, you may be missing out on valuable sales by not mastering the art of following up.
In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Loew’s best practices for sales follow-ups.
- Vary your methods. If you have already sent a couple of follow-up emails and have not heard back, try calling your prospect. And if the prospect does not return your calls, try emailing them. Loew also recommends reaching out via LinkedIn if you are connected through that platform. People prefer different methods of communication, so try different approaches with each prospect.
- Don’t rush it. The last thing you want to do is annoy a prospective client with too many follow-ups too close together. Give the prospect time to think about their decision. Remember that they likely must check in with multiple stakeholders, which takes time. While there’s no exact formula for when to follow up, Loew advises checking in once a week or so. Daily check-ins are annoying and monthly check-ins are generally too far apart.
- Be human. Instead of hard selling, strive to engage the prospect with each outreach. Loew says you can begin by asking them how they are doing and remembering what they say. Simply remembering things about people and showing you care helps build the kind of human connection that drives sales.
- Outline next steps. You can help eliminate any potential confusion by clearly defining what happens next. For example, if the prospect says they need time to discuss your offer with their team, Loew says you can agree to follow up with them in the next week or two. Be as specific as possible by saying something like, “Great! I’ll call you next Wednesday – would 9:30 am or 3 pm work better?”
- Use a smart subject line. If you follow up via email, steer clear of generic subject lines such as “Wanted to follow up” or “Just checking in.” These will go straight to the trash folder. Instead, Loew suggests personalizing the subject line with the prospect’s name or creating a sense of urgency with something like, “We’d love to offer you 20% off this week only!”
- Be succinct. Brevity is important in your sales follow-up. Your prospects do not have time to wade through lengthy emails or listen to rambling voicemails. You only have a few moments to grab their attention, so be direct, says Loew.
- Know when to stop. At some point, you must throw in the towel on your follow-up. Loew notes that 80 percent of successful sales require about five follow-ups, so use this as your baseline. It doesn’t make sense to waste your time if you never hear back from a prospect or you hear a firm “no.”
Following up in sales is a crucial part of your success. Remember that you are not spamming prospects or trying to pressure them into buying. Instead, you are reaching out because you have a solution that can help them. When you apply the strategies above and think of follow-up as relationship-building, you will start to improve your technique with each outreach.
Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Ian Loew is a web entrepreneur and inbound marketing expert, and the owner and creative director of Lform Design.