6 Sales Follow-Up Techniques Every Seller Needs to Know
By Mark McWatters, VP of Sales, Ambition
When it comes to the selling process, follow-ups are one of the most important steps. According to the Brevet Group, 80% of sales require at least five follow-up calls after the first meeting. Since prospective buyers receive countless emails and phone calls from sales reps every day, being able to craft killer follow-ups is essential for a salesperson’s success.
Rejection is, unfortunately, a part of the industry. Effective follow-ups make the difference between sales professionals who can break through the noise and those who face rejection time and time again. Over a year ago, COVID-19 forced much of the sales industry to shift to being fully remote, which resulted in follow-ups playing a bigger role than ever in closing deals.
Whether you’re crushing your sales goals or have room to improve your selling strategy, here are six sales follow-up techniques every seller should know:
Make time for sales follow-ups every day
When speaking with prospects on an initial call, you should have an idea whether they are a good fit. If so, then they’re probably hooked. Just like with inbound sales follow-ups, you want to minimize time-to-response for follow-ups following a prospect call. As many sales reps know, it takes a lot of hard work to gain momentum and interest, so you don’t want to let it fade away by not setting aside time in your day to follow up.
Sales teams can rely on technology like a CRM to set dates for their “next task,” which is often a follow-up immediately after a sales call. This technology can remind sellers automatically when it’s time to send a note or call. Every seller has a busy schedule, and it can be easy to forget about follow-ups. Using technology with this part of the selling process is a game-changer.
Take notes or use call-recording software
It might be harder for some people to admit than others, but our brains can’t retain everything. It’s helpful for sellers to have a reliable way of taking notes or using recording or transcription software for sales calls. Every prospect has different needs, information and questions, and it’s impossible to remember everything. Without these notes or recordings, sales reps can forget important information that can be used when sending follow-ups.
A quality follow-up should reiterate the prospect’s plans and goals before the sales rep goes in for the ask. Sellers can also use recordings to improve their overall sales call performance. By having their manager listen and give constructive feedback as part of sales coaching, reps can take their follow-ups to the next level.
Adjust your process based on the prospect’s needs
You probably have a sales process set in place, but depending on the needs of your buyer, the elements of this process should be flexible. Your follow-ups don’t always have to be sent at the same time, every time — the follow-up and other next steps should be carried out according to the prospect’s needs. It’s also important to remember that your prospects are busy, so your follow-ups should get your points across without unnecessary information.
Discovery calls are typically a huge focus of the selling process and for good reason. Sales reps and buyers will learn a lot about each other at this step. Prospective buyers can see through sellers who are rigid and deliver the same presentation time after time. For example, if a prospect is already sold on the product’s value, then there’s no reason for a seller to deliver the same fluffy, value-focused presentation they would give to prospects unaware of the product’s value. If a sales professional is trying to close as many deals as possible, their discovery calls and follow-ups should be unique and personalized to their clients’ needs.
Add value with every interaction
No one likes their time to be wasted, so don’t do that while following up with prospective buyers. Chances are, buyers are in talks with multiple sellers at the same time and might not be able to remember your name, let alone what you’re selling. Because of this, every follow-up should be valuable and not a waste of your buyer’s time.
What does a valuable follow-up look like? Follow-ups can include articles, case studies or examples that support your conversations during a previous call or topics you know the buyer has an interest in. Similar to discovery call presentations, the more personalized you can make a follow-up, the better.
Have an exact amount of time you are willing to invest in sales follow-ups
If you can tell that a prospect isn’t interested, it’s critical to know where to draw the line when it comes to how much time you are willing to invest in follow-ups. Even though it’s your sole responsibility to create follow-ups, the selling process is a two-way relationship, and the prospect needs to be engaged.
If the buyer completes a sequence without engaging at all, it is recommended to move on — but only temporarily. Just because a prospective buyer isn’t interested in what you’re selling at the moment doesn’t mean they’ll never be interested. Since you’ll likely revisit the buyer, it’s important to put yourself in a good place to open the conversation back up in the future. Always leave the relationship on positive terms.
Time does matter
Whether it’s for contract renewal dates or budget season, sales reps will often get pushed off for follow-ups by prospective buyers. When you do get pushed off and told, “Follow up with me in three months,” cut that time in half. Follow up in six weeks, and don’t forget to keep depositing. With every follow-up, sellers should add value and build trust.
Resourceful Selling reports that it takes 40 days to close leads from social media networking, 75 days to close website leads and 97 days to close referred leads. This data shows the need for sales professionals to sharpen their follow-up skills, especially while selling remotely and working with prospective buyers as they, too, are working from home. The sales journey is not simple, and it sometimes takes months and multiple attempts to close a deal. No matter the level of your sales experience, techniques like taking notes, using recording software and adding value with every interaction will improve your follow-ups and lead to better results.