16 Ways to Follow Up Prospects Without Being Annoying

Face it, no prospect gets up in the morning and prays that salespeople will call on them. For most of the candidates we are calling on, we are at best an interruption, an extra thing to add to their already overstacked “to-do” list. One more task that keeps them from doing what in their minds is their “real” work.

No wonder, as sales professionals, we struggle with follow-up. Research tells us that prospects need eight to ten touches even to begin to think about making a buy. Also, as salespeople, we give up after second or third try. The top two reasons sales professionals do not follow-up are because; one – we think our prospects are not interested; two – we think that if we keep calling to ask for the business, we will be viewed as being annoying.

Let’s take a look at this. First – we think that our prospects are not interested.  For the most part, that is not true. People are busy, and if you have qualified your prospect, had a solid conversation with them, and they have expressed some level of engagement, chances are pretty strong they are interested. They are not calling you back or jumping at the opportunity to buy your product because something more urgent moved ahead of you on their priority list. Maybe two employees quit, their mother broke her hip, they landed a big deal, or their kid got a D on her report card. Who knows, but if you want the business (and you know you do), you have to follow-up.

Selling successfully in a shifting economy takes connection, consistency, and sustainability.”

Now, let’s look at the second reason you do not follow-up, you worry about being annoying. Well, if you call every two weeks and ask for the business, guess what, you are annoying! So, you have to understand that follow-up is about adding value and continuing to build a relationship.

Studies show that opening doors and closing sales are more challenging than ever. While getting in front of a customer is tough enough, it can feel like forever before you close the deal.

If you want to turn your prospects into customers, you have to stay in the game. In other words, you have to follow-up, remain visible and follow-thru. But, how do you keep in front of your customer, without feeling pushy and annoying? How do you stay in-front-of-their-mind without feeling like a stalker?

Here are some ideas! This list is in no particular order, so use what feels right for you! This is a working list – keep in touch to receive updates, changes, and new ideas! Plus, I would love to hear what you are doing. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter!

16 After Sales Call Follow Up Ideas:

  1. Invite Them – To a chamber event, a Rotary meeting, an Open House at your business or someplace that would be of interest to them. A golf game, out to dinner, you get the idea.
  2. Show Up – Where they network, do business, or socialize. Choose an event they frequent, and say hello, keeping the conversation casual. Your prospect does not attend “traditional” networking events? No worries, everyone goes somewhere, so find out where he or she do go –Favorite restaurant for lunch? Big golfer? Maybe your kids play on the same sporting team?
  3. Handwritten Note – standout after the meeting, by making it personal. Take pen in hand and let them know you enjoyed meeting and talking with them – relay something you remember from the conversation – make it personal.
  4. Connect Socially – always in addition to the handwritten note, connect on Linkedin, Twitter or Facebook, whatever site works for them. Remember, personalize your message to connect
  5. Make A Connection – for them. Introduce them to someone they should or want to know. Expand their network!
  6. Refer Business – to them and send a quick e-mail or make a call to let them know you sent them business their way. (even if the business doesn’t go their way, you still get credit!)
  7. Company Updates – Newsletters, Videos, so on – If you follow the 70% rule (70% of the follow-up about them, 30% about you) then you can follow-up with a newsletter or a video about your company now and then
  8. Research – Find the trends in their industry, changes, new opportunities – then look for and send an article that would be of interest to them.
  9. Celebrate –  Holidays that is – drop by with the cookies for their staff on Valentine’s Day – saying we love our customers; honor them during National Small Business Week or give thanks for them during the Thanksgiving Holiday. Make-up your own customer appreciation week!
  10. Information Connection – Invite them to a seminar or special session that you host, educating them on some business growth topic. Example, special session on how to integrate marketing and sales; or how to set financial goals.
  11. Status Comments – You are connected on social media, so comment on their status updates (example – looks like a great trip, congratulations on your 5K, etc.)
  12. Casual Connection – Invite them for coffee or lunch just to get an update on what is going on with them (at least 4 to 6 mos after the first contact)
  13. Watch to Congratulate – Newspaper, television, radio or newsletter articles for any news, award, or mention of their business – send a note congratulating them. Look for updates they are making on social networking and weigh in to comment.
  14. Send Them A Testimonial – A testimonial about them that is. Touch one of their clients and relay the great things that people are saying about them.
  15. Webinar – Invite them to a brief thirty-minute online seminar where you are answering questions, sharing ideas, and taking questions to learn more about your product or service. Alternatively, share a YouTube video, a podcast – something that you think would be of interest to them. You get BONUS points if you send something in response to a question they had, or a challenge they are facing. Even if it is a better way to train for a marathon, or how to cool on the fly. Staying visible does not have to be all business.
  16. Bring in The Big Guns – invite the boss to meet them, let them know their business is important to you and your executive leadership, and welcome the “big guns” in to move the business forward

Selling successfully in a shifting economy takes connection, consistency, and sustainability. You must be committed to adding value and continuing to build relationships. Schedule your touches in your calendar, commit to investing in the relationship and sit back and watch as your prospects turn into your customers.

Did you like this blog? It is available as a downloadable PDF! 

FREE Online Webinar!

The Sales Expert ChannelRegister here for Meridith’s FREE 45-minute Webinar,“Networking: The New More Profitable Cold Call”  through The Sales Experts Channel.