Ninety-eight percent of your sales! That is how much you are losing out on if you do not follow-up with a prospect. That is right, just two-percent of sales actually close on the first sales call.
I think as sales professionals, business owners, relationship managers we make sales so much harder than it has to be. The toughest part of sales, in my opinion, is getting to the door in the first place. Getting that prospect to actually engage with you, respond or take an interest in what you are selling.
So why if you have gotten that far do you give-up if our prospect is not ready to buy? At any given time, only 56% of prospects are actively looking to purchase something. Think about that, that means over half of the people you are calling on have not made buying anything a priority.
If you follow me at all, you know that I often say what do you think the chances are you are going to interact with a sales prospect at the exact moment they are ready to buy? Slim to none right? That is why the sale happens in the follow-up, it always happens in the follow-up.
Now sales follow-up can be tricky, I get that too. It is the most ignored part of the sales process, and the one that has been written about the least. Rarely do I run across a sales professional that has a formal or well-trained follow-up system (learn more about that below).
And the reasons we don’t follow-up are valid too.
We tend to think if our prospect does not respond then they are not interested, or we worry if we follow-up too much we will be annoying. Well, more on the false narrative that prospects are not interested in my next blog, but today let’s focus on your worry about being annoying.
It’s true, if you follow-up with prospects too much, or you are two me-centric in your follow-up you will be annoying, so annoying in fact even if they are ready to buy the product, they most likely will not buy from you.
Follow-up is as much art as science. First you have to tackle the idea that you will follow-up. You will create a structure, systematic approach to follow-up. Second, you need to combine that with the right flow and style. The perfect design of art and science.
Try these 8 innovative ways to follow-up without being annoying:
- Make it value added – first and foremost you need to understand that follow-up is not about you. The primary goal of follow-up is not for you to get the deal to close. The primary goal is for you to continue to nurture the relationship, add value to your prospect, and get them to see working with you as a priority. That means follow-up is far less you “checking-in” to see if they are ready to buy, and far more about adding value to the relationship that actually helps your prospect.
- Get permission – next you need to get permission to follow-up. That’s right, if you do not want to be annoying than you have to let your customer know what you are doing and why you are doing it. Positioning your follow-up strategy with your prospect is key to ensuring you are not bothering them with follow-up, but actually doing them a favor.
In my new Masterclass we cover the perfect structure for this and how to ensure prospects are attracted and not repelled by your follow-up.
- Grade your follow-up – not every prospect requires the same level of follow-up. You need to adjust the cadence based on where your prospect is in the buying cycle. Does this prospect require a once-a-month follow-up, or are they so far down in the buying process that it is more like a quarterly follow-up? Maybe they are close to a decision and you need to stay in the game on a daily or weekly basis. Customizing your cadence ensures your prospects feel comfortable with your process.
- Make a connection – if you want your prospects to do business with you, and help you achieve your goals then one of the best strategies is to help them grow theirs. If you are looking for a smart way to stay in touch and remain visible with prospects then make a connection for them. Introduce them to someone who can add value to their business or better yet send them a referral.
- Event strategy – one of the smartest ways to follow-up and to position yourself as an expert and a resource is to use the follow-up event strategy. Invite your prospect to something educational either you are doing, or something your industry is presenting. A webinar, a seminar, a quick video that provides educational value. This keeps you front and center with prospects while underscoring the value you can bring to their business.
- Snail mail – a good follow-up strategy takes all channels of communication and ways to remain front and center. Going back to the traditional method of snail mail is one of my favorites. The power of the handwritten thank you note is a lost art and can truly make you stand out. A congratulations note when you see they won an award or just were recognized by their local chamber. Anything that you identify as something that happened in their business or personal life, and you can take pen to paper and stroke a note, is a solid strategy for sales follow-up.
- Social media – certainly keeping your social media up-to-date is important, as prospects will see it and be reminded of you. But when it comes to sales follow-up it is more about staying visible on their social media. Making sure you are connected in the first place on their chosen social media channel, and then commenting and sharing their posts. Again, another way you showcase that you are more focused on their goals than your own goals.
- Client proof – and last but not least (for this blog – we actually have so much more to share on sales follow-up) is your client proof. Those testimonials you get from client deals you have already closed, and using those in quick short emails to your prospects. In our masterclass we show you how to both get those testimonials from existing customers, and then use them strategically and artfully to follow-up with prospects.
Follow-up is the key to sales, the key to growing your business, and the key to exceeding your goals. Again, it is the most neglected part of the sales process, the one that is least structured, and least updated and enhanced on a consistent basis.
If you want to close more deals, and I know you do, you need to understand that the sale happens in the follow-up, it always happens in the follow-up. Join us this week for our final masterclass on what it takes to get to the decision maker and get the deal to close.