If you are in sales, you have likely been reminded that “the fortune is in the follow-up” time and time again. And the truth is, it doesn’t really matter how great your product or service is at the end of the day. If you can’t master the art of following up with your prospects, your sales will likely always suffer.
In many ways, following up with a prospect presents more of a challenge than even cold calling new leads. Because by following up with a potential you face the classic problem that all salespeople face: How do you consistently follow up with a potential client without being annoying or off-putting?
There is no one answer to this question and the answer will vary depending on the situation. Fortunately, following up is a skill that anyone can learn to do effectively. And once you master your sales follow-up, not only will you close more sales but you will likely do it in less time.
So let’s look at four tips for a surprisingly powerful follow-up strategy:
Make It All About Your Prospect
It may sound counterintuitive but if you want to close more sales you have to forget about your company and your sales quotas and make it all about your prospect. What keeps them up at night? What problem do they continue to deal with that you are able to solve for them?
This is important because you aren’t just trying to make a quick sale and then move on, you have something of value to offer that person. When you adopt this mindset, you will truly come from a place of authority and will earn more respect from your prospects.
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Be a Good Listener
You have probably heard that it takes roughly 8-12 quality touches to close a sale. But how do you know if your follow-up strategy is meaningful?
This is where being a good listener is important. Being a good listener not only shows your prospect that you care about helping them, it will give you a frame of reference to follow up with them on.
For instance, if they tell you they are interested in painting you can invite them to attend a community event that they might enjoy. Or you could email them articles you think are relevant to their situation. The point is to genuinely listen to their concerns and then follow up with helpful advice or action.
Mix Up Your Correspondence
If your follow-up strategy is that on the third Thursday of every month you send your prospects a “just checking in” email, you probably aren’t going to get very far. It’s a good idea to mix up your correspondence with a combination of email, snail mail, phone calls, and in-person visits.
You should also check with your prospect to find out their preferred method of communication. For instance, if they truly hate checking and responding to emails, then you will want to avoid that as a follow-up strategy.
Remember that Timing is Everything
Just because you need to meet your numbers for the third quarter doesn’t mean your prospect is ready to buy today. People will buy from you when they are ready which is why it is necessary to have a tried-and-true system for following up. And of course, you should never stop following up with any of your prospects.
If someone asks to be taken off of your list, of course, you should do so right away (and be nice about it). But even if they choose to work with someone else you should continue to follow up with them because they may become dissatisfied with that decision.
I will end this blog post with a personal story about following up. When I sold my house a few years ago I interviewed more than five local real estate agents. I chose the real estate agent I felt would provide me the most value, but after a few botched offers, our relationship quickly soured.
However, there was one agent who continued to follow up with me even after I let her know I had chosen someone else. She knew it wasn’t about her, it was about me and she continued to send me listings in my area, sales data, and other tips on buying or selling a home.
Because of her consistent follow-up efforts, three things happened. First, she was top of mind when it didn’t work out with the first real estate agent. Second, I knew she had my best interests in mind because she cared enough to send me helpful information. And finally, I knew she was a good marketer and that if she applied those same talents to selling my home she would do so quickly and at a higher price point — which she did.