For a salesperson – everything revolves around regular follow-ups.
The first meeting is always easy, the first email, the outreach call, and everything looks like a walk in the garden at the start. But the real challenge lies in the follow-ups and effectively moving prospects through the buying cycle. After the initial contact, it takes real persistence and dedication to keep the conversation alive and close the deal. This is where most salespeople fall short, as staying in touch with a potential future customer is not always easy and many times, pieces of this puzzle fall through the cracks. You think you have done your job and all you have to do is sit around and wait for them to respond. And the problem lies here – you do not follow-up on time with the right information or messaging.
You are right if you do not want to disturb your prospect and if you want to wait for them to respond. All the salespeople want to avoid being annoying at the risk of getting rejected. So, what should you do? The key lies in knowing how to be persistent and understanding where to draw the line.
The ideal sales follow-up philosophy should be to follow-up as often as often as necessary. Get a response and that is all you need. You can contact your prospects and ask them when to connect. If someone tells you they aren’t interested, it’s only then that you could consider leaving them alone.
Given that sales follow-ups are tricky, you cannot overdo them and avoid them. You do not want to overwhelm the client with too much information or under share either. Difficult, isn’t it? Do not worry, you cannot become a sales pro in a day. You need years and years of practice, by carefully maneuvering through proven sales tricks and striking the right balance for your sales follow-ups.
What is a Sales follow-up?
As per its definition, sales follow-up is the action that you take after you have presented your initial pitch. Sales follow-ups can be conducted in different ways – mostly phone calls and emails.
Plenty of tips have been given on the right way to follow-up, but even seasoned sales people still fall short. Here are some common pitfalls of sales follow-ups.
1. Not automating sales follow-ups
Automation has made our lives easier, however, many salespeople still fail to automate sales follow-ups. We know it is a pain in the neck to identify automation opportunities. You can simply use CRMs to create automated workflows to follow-up with your prospects.
2. Not setting follow-up reminders
Sales is a dynamic process and human errors are commonplace. Despite the importance of sales follow-ups, around 48% of salespeople fail to follow up with their clients. The reason – they tend to forget about follow-ups. It happens without follow-up reminders eventually, leading to prospect churn.
3. Delayed Follow-ups
We reiterate that follow-ups are essential, but so is following up at the right time with the right message. You have a small window for your team to generate interest in your products, and then leverage that interest to establish further connections. If you miss this window, you lose the opportunity.
4. Excessive Follow-ups
Well, this one is obvious. A follow- up doesn’t mean you keep calling or emailing the prospect every hour. There is a discipline to follow during such follow-ups. Do not follow up with an opportunity to the extent that it negatively affects the customer experience and brand reputation.
5. Not preparing for follow-ups
The younger generation of sales persons often believe that follow-ups do not need preparation, but this is where they fail. Follow-up calls and emails should be data-driven, interactive, and engaging.
The artful techniques of effective sales follow-ups
1. Use a variety of follow-up methods
Do not wait for a reply after sending 2-3 emails to your prospects. When you do not hear back, pick up your phone and make a call. When one follow-up method doesn’t work, try another. Use a variety of them and try to get a reply.
2. Space it out
Follow-ups should be scheduled regularly. Remember that purchase decisions move slowly and you must have patience when following up.
3. Offer Value with each follow-up
With each follow-up you do with your client, try to add value to the call. Hard selling on every call will not work. Instead, engage with the client and ensure you add the benefit of your product with each follow-up
4. Know when to stop
We know it is challenging, but know when to stop the follow-up call. Speak less, keep your words concise, and try to convey more in fewer words.
Many salespeople think they might annoy prospects or disturb them or lose them due to too much following up. But you should gather courage and strike a balance between overdoing and underdoing this part of the sales activity.