Let’s admit it right here and now: You rolled your eyes when you read the words “following-up”. Most of you probably clicked on this article just to see if it’s as lame as it sounds. Because, let’s face it, everyone know that following-up is going to make all the difference between getting more business or just being another sweet talker.
So now that we have gotten the obvious out of the way here’s something you might not have known:
48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect
25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
12% of sales people make more than three contacts
Now, if most sales happened after one interaction then forgetting to follow up wouldn’t be drastic. But, studies by The Nationals Sales Executive Association shows that less that 2-3% of sales are made on the first and second encounter while 80% of sales transactions happen on the fifth to twelfth point of contact.
Yes, you should be following-up at least five times with prospects. So an essential question presents itself: How do you follow-up that many times without looking desperate or like a stalker?
It’s important on the first encounter to find out as much about your prospect as possible. Use your first phone call or coffee/lunch date to ask as many questions as you can; this will be the fuel to your fire. If possible, take notes so that details, like your prospects love for the New York Yankees, don’t escape you. Treating the first encounter as a friendly meeting is the first step to establishing a long-term relationship that will help ease your prospect into trusting you and seeing you as more than just a sales person.
After your first encounter the follow-up begins! If you do not have a CRM software to remind you of when to follow-up then you are going to have to manually plug the details into your calendar; reach out every 3-6 weeks depending on the time constraints of the sale in question. You should be consistently reaching out to plan next steps and see how to advance your prospect along. However, if you keep harassing your prospect on a sale then you quickly become a nuisance, which is business suicide. This is when your information from your first encounter comes in handy
On the third or fourth follow-up instead of talking about business, send your prospect an email that contains something of interest to them. For example, if they love the New York Yankees then maybe you send them the YouTube video of Derek Jeter hitting a grand slam at last night’s game or send them an article that pertains to their industry or passion. Demonstrating to your prospects that you are listening and interested in more than just concluding a sale will increase your KLT (know, like & trust) factor. Keep intermingling personal interactions along with business messages depending on your prospects reaction. Make sure not to keep interactions strictly on email – it’s okay to pick up the phone and give them a call! – and meet in person whenever possible.