5 Ways You Can Follow Up SMARTER, Starting Today

Are you communicating enough with your prospects and customers? Statistics show that the average sales person spends a third of their working day following up prospects.

On the flip side, if you don’t follow up, you risk leaving money on the table by being too passive. Read on to find out how you can increase your business awareness and sales quickly and easily starting today.

As a rule, we tend to think that prospects and surely our clients will come to us whenever they’re ready to take action. After all, we’ve already pitched them, or had a great phone chat. So, it’s just a matter of time until they come back, ready to buy whatever it is we’re selling.

But the truth is: they won’t!

While your prospects and clients might remember you for a while, they are less likely to buy from you or buy again with every passing day since you last connected. And it has nothing to do with the quality of your pitch or your product or service. It’s to do with you staying in touch.

Everyone in sales knows that the money is in the follow up. After a successful meeting, pitch, enquiry or conversation, it’s rare that a sale is made instantly. You usually still need to follow up later that day or that week, and sometimes you may even need to follow up for a number of weeks or even months before a decision to buy is made. Sometimes the sale never gets made. But when you do make a sale – weeks or even months down the track, you acknowledge that the follow up was worth it.

But what happens during that time period between connection and sale? Is the follow up really worth it? And at what point do we have to honestly say: enough is enough and I should stop talking to a particular prospect because they can’t make up their mind?

This internal conversation inside the head of a business owner happens every day – we discount our prospects and stop chasing those who we feel are less likely to buy.

But who said this is the way it has to be?

Realistically, until they tell us to politely “get lost”, who are we to assume they are not serious about what it is we are offering? After all, they came to you or sat through a pitch they agreed to. Perhaps they’re not buying now, but who’s to say they won’t buy later? And when they do want to buy later, wouldn’t you rather they buy from you instead of your competitors?

Take yourself as an example: do you jump at every single opportunity to spend money and buy every new product or service that comes your way? Of course not!

But does that necessarily mean you’re not serious about buying these items now or perhaps in future? Of course not!

After seeing something new, you probably take some time to think and check with your partners before you commit to it, right? From equipment to a new accounting software, most decisions in business are not taken lightly and naturally require careful consideration. Plus there is always the matter of budget to take into account. So you can probably relate: making a decision for a new acquisition, no matter what it is, isn’t always an instant task. And knowing this, we can better empathise with our own prospects and clients who seem to be “taking forever to decide”. 

Yes, I aree some people are never going to buy. But guess what? We don’t actually know who they are. We can assume and stop communicating with those we THINK aren’t serious…but then we risk never knowing what could have happened.

Some 50 or even 100 years ago when some of the world’s classic sales and marketing books were written, follow up was always about a singular touch – be it a call or even a personal visit. It was expensive and time consuming, but it worked.

Today, we have so many options other than a call or an in-person visit that the authors of those old sales books will be ripping their hair out if they only knew how inefficiently we use these new-age tools that could make such a big difference to our bottom line.

Today with the power of email there is a very small monetary difference between sending a blast of 100 or 1000 emails PLUS there is no extra effort, and no extra time required to follow up with an extra 900 prospects when you’re already communicating with 100.

That is why today, we have to change the rules of discounting our prospects. We give them the power to discount themselves through the UNSUBSCRIBE button. Yes, if they no longer wish to hear from us they are in total control. And those who do not unsubscribe … I choose to believe they are still interested but might have no budget or headspace to take your offer right now…not just yet.

We advocate for smarter follow ups no matter what your business does, or its market share. So here’s some ideas you can add to your sales and marketing process:

1. If you haven’t already, create a follow up process for different types of enquiries and sales you make from different avenues (online, retail, in-person meetings). By breaking down how you plan on following up each type of prospect or customer, you will be able to create systems quickly and assess their efficiency over a shorter period of time.

2. If your prospects are enquiring on your website, send them an instant follow-up email to acknowledge their enquiry. Then aim to check and respond to it within 12 hours. Online leads are well known to go cold extremely quickly.

3. Choose a smart email software that fits your follow up needs. Consider creating a number of different sequences for different types of prospects or clients. Use the follow-up process document from the first point above to guide you.

4. Ask every new customer permission to add them to your email database.

5. Remember: there is no time limit on follow ups – continue to follow up prospects and customers for months, and even years after they first enquire or buy. Don’t feel uncomfortable doing this – rather consider this as you doing a service to them to keep them updated. After all, if they really don’t want to hear from you, they will unsubscribe.

If you want the rewards that come with follow up, start with these tips.

And if you don’t have the time to put these into action and want to outsource your follow ups so that you can simply pick up the sales at the other end, get in touch with us to find out about Set’n’Prosper: where we Set your follow ups, and you Prosper!

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