So what do you think the chances are you are going to connect with a prospect at the exact moment they are ready to buy? Slim to none right? Believe me, not one of your prospects got up this morning, got down on one knee and prayed that a sales rep would call on them today or anyday.
If you want to close more sales, and who does not want to close more sales, you need to understand that the sale happens in the follow-up – it ALWAYS happens in the follow-up.
Yet for some reason, we as sales professionals neglect this part of the sales process more often than any other. Okay maybe not as often as not updating our Customer Relationship Management System, but you get the idea. Follow-up is the least structured, the least discussed and the least executed part of the sales process.
The statistics are mind-blowing: On average, just 2% of sales are made during the first point of contact. So without a follow-up process you are potentially missing out on 98% of your sales. Add to that 80% of sales are made after the fifth contact by a sales person, yet 44% of sales people give up after the first contact.
The lesson here – the sales happens in the follow-up, it always happens in the follow-up. If you are looking to finish the fourth quarter strong, and kick-off 2022 even stronger than you need to focus your efforts on mastering your sales follow-up system.
Winning at sales is all about doing what your competition is not, and finding innovative and creative ways to add value to the customer relationship. That is the perfect recipe for a strong follow-up system.
6 Proven Strategies To Master Sales Follow-up
- Create A Strategy – your first step in mastering sales follow-up is to create plan for when, where, how and with whom you are going to follow-up. For sales follow-up to be effective it needs to be structured and it needs to be planned. Personally, I take time every December to create and update my follow-up plan. I determine the top 100 prospects I am going to call on the next year. I get all of their contact information (phone, address, email etc.), and I do my research on each person and company. I then enter this all into my Customer Relationship Management System – so when it is time to follow-up I am ready!
- Grade Your Prospects – not every prospect needs the same level of follow-up. Everyone single one has their own timeline for when and how they are going to buy. So come up with a system to grade your prospects and determine the level of follow-up they are going to require. Perhaps you’re “a’s” need to be touched on a weekly basis, and your “c’s” four times a year. However, you determine what your follow-up needs to look like, pre-determining the criteria for level of follow-up per prospect will make the process so much easier.
- Include Low Hanging Fruit – follow-up can be a lonely process. Often prospects don’t respond, and you wonder if your messages are drowning in the black hole of technology. In order to stay motivated and excited about follow-up you need to include some low-hanging fruit. In other words some easy wins, such as past customers or great referral sources. Both are good people to stay in touch with anyway, but they also will provide some much needed motivation for staying with the follow-up process.
- Strike The Balance – one of the biggest reasons we as sales professionals don’t like follow-up is we worry about being annoying. Well the truth is if we call people every two weeks and ask if they are ready to buy from us we are going to be annoying. An effective follow-up system is about striking the balance of how to follow-up. Follow-up is 70% value add to the customer and 30% asking for the business. Your goals with follow-up are to remain visible so that when your customer is ready to buy you are the first person they think of, and to ensure they know you very much want the business. The key is to strike the balance of value-add touches with asking for the business touches.
- Consistency Is Sexy – again follow-up is a lonely business. Lack of response to emails, voice messages that you never know if they are even heard, and months sometimes before a prospect or customer responds. Despite the crickets that come with sales follow-up, you need to stay in the game. Consistency is one of the most effective parts of the sales strategy – developing your plan, working your plan, and ensuring your follow-up and stay with the process. I have had deals that I have closed, where I did not hear from the prospect in more than a year of follow-up. Then one day, seems like out of the blue, they return my call and we book the deal.
- Learn & Adjust – and lastly, take time every single month to learn from your follow-up efforts and adjust your strategy. Set time aside monthly to review what emails are getting a response, what articles or videos you are sending that seem to gain interest from your prospects, and what cadence you are using that seems to be most effective. You are going to be your best follow-up teacher, take the time to review your efforts and adjust your follow-up strategy to be in a constant mode of improvement.
If you are looking to close more sales, exceed your goals and just add more value to your prospects and customers than it is time to upgrade your sales follow-up strategy. The sales happens in the follow-up, it always happens in the follow-up.
Use these six strategies to make your follow-up more effective, but honestly we are just getting started. There is so much more to learn and know when it comes to mastering sales follow-up.
I want to invite you to join for a very special masterclass on learning how to get in doors, get to the decision maker and follow-up more effectively.
Ready to learn more, then join us.
Wednesday October 13th @ 1PM PST/4PM PST
Thursday October 14th @9AM PST/NOON EST
Monday October 18th 1 PM PST/4 PM PST