How to Follow up with Prospects to Keep the Conversation Going
Let’s face it: sales aren’t easy, and it certainly won’t stop no matter how many quality leads you’ve generated. To keep your business growing, you must learn how to make follow-ups with your prospects. They’ve been to your website and already know your name; the challenge is how you can keep the conversation flowing and eventually encourage them to make a purchase.
Perhaps you have experienced the tension that follows a missed connection with a prospect, a rude prospect, or being brushed off after an attempt at closing a sale. Salespeople are an optimistic bunch, and we usually expect to make many more sales than we do. There are many reasons for this gap between expectations and reality, but here’s one very simple way to fix it: learn how to follow up with prospects.
What is a Follow-up in Sales?
You might be wondering, “what does a follow-up mean?” A follow-up is a way to keep the conversation going and encourage your prospective customers to take action.
It’s essential that you stay top of mind with your prospects, so when they’re ready to buy, they think of you first. This means remembering them and contacting them to ensure they don’t forget about you.
What is the Importance of Following Up with a Prospect?
After weeks of enhancing your website to be mobile-friendly and ensuring that it generates leads, following up with your prospects is a key part of any business process. So it’s important to keep the conversation going as long as possible, even after you think a prospect has made up their mind about whether or not to buy from you.
The reason is simple: if your prospect’s mind isn’t active, they’re unlikely to choose your product or service over another company’s. If they don’t have an active thought about their needs and wants in their head, then someone else—like a competitor—can easily fill that gap with their offering.
The longer you can keep your prospect thinking about what it would be like if they bought from you instead of someone else, the more likely they are to give in and go with one of the options that are already fresh in their minds instead of starting from scratch again with something new (and possibly less desirable).
What’s the Best Number of Times to Reach Out to a Prospect?
Trying to convince someone to buy your product or service is tempting to try every trick in the book. But it’s also important not to wear out your welcome—or theirs—too quickly. If you’re reaching out too often, you can make them feel like they’re being stalked and turn them off from ever doing business with you again.
According to research by Salesforce, two factors determine how often a prospect should be contacted before they start considering buying from you: how much they know about your product or service and how much information they’ve gathered on their own.
The less they know, the more often you should contact them. If they’re already familiar with what you offer, they’ll probably be able to make their own decisions without your help. For example, if you sell software that helps businesses manage their inventory, sending an email every week about new features and updates isn’t going to help much unless your prospect is still learning about how such a program works.
What to Do if You Miss a Call from a Prospect?
If you miss a call from a prospect, call back as soon as possible. If you’re in the middle of an important project and can’t answer the phone immediately, leave them a voicemail apologizing for missing their call and asking them to give you a ring at another time.
If your prospect doesn’t pick up, follow up with an email or text message that says, “Hey [Prospect], I’m sorry I missed your call! Can we connect next week? [Your name].”
If you don’t hear back from the prospect within 24 hours of sending your follow-up correspondence, try again with another email or text message (and keep doing this until they respond). This way, they know that even though they might’ve missed your initial contact attempt, they’ve still been on your radar—hopefully, yours is theirs.
Learn How to Follow Up with Prospects
Making a sales follow-up successful is about more than just sending out an email. It’s about giving the customer what they need when they need it. And that means going above and beyond with your follow-up efforts—and ensuring that you’re doing everything in your power to ensure that the customer gets what they want from your product. Here are some strategies for making your sales follow-up successful:
- Be proactive: Don’t wait for the customer to reach out first—reach out to them. The key is to be proactive about setting up a time for this follow-up call rather than waiting for them to reach out first.
- Make sure you’re focused on what matters most: You’re talking about the right things during your call that really matter to them and will help them achieve their goals or solve problems with your product.
- Set realistic expectations: Make sure that both parties understand what they’re getting into before they start the conversation; don’t promise anything that you can’t deliver on!
- Keep the conversation focused: Don’t let your conversation wander too far off- topic—stick to the goal of your call, and don’t get sidetracked by things that aren’t important.
- Try not to talk too much: Remember that you’re on a call with another person, not just talking to them! Let them do most of the talking to feel heard and valued as a customer.
Why Should You Not be Afraid to Follow Up with a Prospect?
In the spirit of “never waste a good crisis,” I want to share an example of how one company has increased sales by over 20% by following up with prospects.
The company is called Avis Car Rentals. They are known for their catchy slogan: “We Try Harder.” When they first began using this slogan in 1962, they had just 6% of the car-renting market. However, by 1975 they had 46% of all rentals in North America, and today they own half of all car rentals worldwide. Avis made a culture out of constantly following up on their prospects until they became customers!
They knew that if no one followed up after a prospect contacted them, there was a good chance that this prospect would go elsewhere because someone else might have been more aggressive at following up and won their business away from them.
When to Stop Communicating with a Prospect
You’ve done the hard part: you’ve gotten their email address, sent them a few emails and messages, and maybe even had a phone call. But now comes the really tough question: when do you stop communicating with them?
First, it’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Many different answers depend on your industry, product, and target audience. However, some general rules can help guide your decision-making process.
- Always be honest with yourself about the situation. Are they responding to your emails? Are they engaging in the conversation? If so, then keep going! If not… well, then it’s time to reevaluate things.
- Be sure not to spam them! If they’re not responding after three attempts at contact (via email or phone), then it’s time to move on—they probably just aren’t interested in what you offer in their lives or business journey.
- Give yourself some time! No one likes being sold too soon after meeting someone new—it feels like another aspect of that “sell-sell-sell” mentality we all want to avoid.
- Be personable! Don’t send a sales email or cold call, even if it’s something as simple as an offer for help or advice. Instead, try sending a note saying, “I noticed you’re looking for help with X, Y, and Z—I’d love to chat about whether I can be of service!”
- Focus on the relationship first! Get to know the other person and what they’re looking for in a business partner or advisor before you pitch your services.
- Make sure you’re the right fit! Don’t force yourself into something that doesn’t feel right, even if it means losing a potential client.
There you have it! That’s how you follow up with prospects.
While prospecting for new clients can be tedious and, at times, frustrating, it’s a necessary part of the sales process. Understanding your prospects’ motivations can tailor your messages to resonate with them. And by following up consistently, you can keep the conversation going until they’re ready to buy. Plus, the more you communicate with your prospects over time, the better you’ll know them—making selling to them much easier.
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Whether you’re looking to expand your business or want to start a new one, we can help you with that. Our sales specialists are here to help you develop a strategy and reach out to potential clients in the most effective way possible. So check out our services today!
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