There are a number of different behaviors that the strongest salespeople consistently execute. One of the most important behaviors on this list is following up.
Following up keeps you on your customer’s radar. It allows you to touch base with them while slowly overcoming objections and establishing a strong base for a long-term relationship. This can help turn leads into customers, and customers into long-term clients.
Following up, however, can be an art form. You want your customers to pick up the phone instead of being so annoying they block your number, and you need the right timing, messaging, and strategy behind the follow ups if you want them to be successful. In this post, we’ll teach you the art of the follow up and how to use it to get more sales and customers.
1. Make Sure You’re Dealing with the Right Person
You would be surprised how many times salespeople keep hitting a wall just because they aren’t dealing with the right person. Sometimes, they establish relationships with the wrong department head in a company, effectively targeting someone who has no decision making power when it comes to what they’re trying to sell.
You have to watch for this even in B2C marketing, especially for bigger purchases. A few years back, my dad was helping me negotiate when I was buying my first car. Despite the fact that they knew he wasn’t putting any money down, the salespeople continued to sell to him, talk to him, and ask him his opinion as if I wouldn’t have one. He kept shrugging and referring them back to me, and I ended up walking away from three different dealerships because they refused to talk to me directly. The first salesperson who spoke directly to me was the one who got the sale.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how great your pitch is if you’re pitching to the wrong person.
2. Arrange for the Follow Up During the Original Conversation
The best chance you have to guarantee that your client or lead will even open the email or take the phone call following up is to schedule it in advance. Let them know at the original point of contact that you’d like to follow up within two weeks. You can let them know that this will be to ask how they’re liking their new purchase and make sure they don’t have any questions, or to answer any questions about the service after they’ve had time to sleep on it.
If possible, send a digital confirmation of this, like a Google calendar invite. This keeps it on their schedules and yours, increasing the likelihood that they’ll have time to talk to you when you make contact.
3. Don’t Be Overly Aggressive
We’ve all been on the end of the follow up call with an incredibly aggressive salesperson who clearly wants that sale. The need that sale. They live and breath that sale. And we all almost always do the same thing; we try to get off that call as quickly as humanly possible and then swear to ourselves to never answer the phone again.
Instead, try to shoot for more of a “check in” approach. There’s nothing wrong with asking where the customer thinks they are in terms of purchasing, or asking if you have any questions you can answer to show them that your product is the right one for them.
Your follow ups should never be an aggressive push for purchase. You also shouldn’t use them as an opportunity to pursue leads so frequently that they feel like you might be stalking them. Which brings us to our next point…
4. Don’t Give Up Right Away, But Don’t Be Relentless
You absolutely don’t want to give up right away. It’s why I was taught to “ask” for the sale three times as a salesperson; sometimes, it really does take several calls or emails checking in to close. The key is to space out your follow-ups at appropriate time intervals, so you don’t risk either overwhelming the customer when calling too frequently or losing them by taking too long.
Depending on your business and how urgent the purchase would need to be, following up once every one to two weeks is generally a good starting point.
All this being said, nothing makes a customer more uncomfortable than telling you that no, after all your time they’ve wasted, that they won’t be buying from you. If you’ve tried to get in touch several times to no response (or an extremely non-committal one like them dodging the phone call), it may be time to call it quits. I typically go with the three-strikes-and-you’re-out approach for my own business, and this was what was taught to me as a salesperson, too.
5. Send Personalized Follow Ups
If you’re going with email instead of voice or audio call, try to make your follow ups as personalized as possible. Potential customers will be most responsive to the follow up when they’re talking to the same person they’d originally dealt with, and when said message is highly relevant to them. This also provides an opportunity for the ever-important relationship building; all you need is a “I know you were on your way out to your son’s game last Friday, hope it went well!” to show that you value them and remember them.
Another big advantage of personalized follow ups is that they allow you to really focus in on the customer’s specific objections and pain points. This will vary from customer to customer. One customer may be concerned about price, while another worries about the security of your app. Being able to address these concerns specifically and individually will work to your benefit.
If sending truly personalized follow ups isn’t an option, opt for mass-personalization options with segmented lists. These will allow you to send relevant messages to potential leads, and you can even use triggered autoresponders to help with this.
Following up is an essential part of selling, but it only works when you know how to do it right. The art of the follow up is a crucial one to master for long-term success, as it’s rooted in relationship building and client satisfaction. Remember to make the follow up about the client’s needs instead of your own (even if you’re falling incredibly short on your quota for the month), and your chances of a sale go up significantly.
What do you think? What are your go-to strategies for following up with customers and leads? Let us know in the comments below!