You know well that sales deals are almost never closed on the first try. Whether reaching out to a qualified lead or cold calling a new one, getting the commit on a sale relies on follow-up conversations to build trust and confidence in your solution. That’s why the art of the follow-up is one of the most important skills a sales rep can learn.
From figuring out how many times to contact a prospect to what time of day they’ll be most receptive, the sooner a rep can learn these tricks the more successful they’ll be. In order to make each interaction count, you’ll want to keep these tips in mind when reaching out.
Make a good first impression. Ok, so this tip is a bit of a cheat since it actually occurs before you start following up. But the success of your second interaction (and every interaction after) will be largely based on how well your first conversation goes. If your prospect is dodging your calls or not responding to your emails, then you can bet your first message didn’t hit home. The ideal first interaction should be memorable, polite, informative, and helpful.
Schedule follow-up reminders.
Use the tools at your disposal to ensure you don’t lose prospects in the shuffle. Decide on a frequency that works for your potential customers and set calendar reminders for yourself and them. It will be one less thing for you to remember on the backend, and it’s also a good way to appear organized and secure a prospect’s buy-in from the very beginning.
Find a balance.
Don’t be incessant, but don’t put the responsibility of following up on the prospect. Follow the guidelines for your business type, but always use your judgement over industry standards. Some contacts may be too busy to handle the standard follow-up frequency, and may need a little more time between calls. Trust your gut.
Don’t reach out just to “check in.”
This is a wasted opportunity, and often a waste of time for your prospect. Always provide value when re-connecting. Share a new feature that just came out or a case study from a similar current customer—and try to connect it back to your original conversation. While you don’t want to overwhelm your prospect with too much information, sending the right tidbit could be exactly what’s needed to spark interest in a conversation that’s otherwise gone cold.
Send them an offer.
At the end of the day a “no” is always better than an insincere “I’ll get back to you.” Keeping a conversation going with a contact that’s not genuinely interested is a sure way to eat up time that could be better spent on new prospects. In order to truly suss out the interested from the not-interested, offer up a limited-time deal. It will either spur them to action or you’ll be able to take them off your list.
Pick the right channel.
There are so many ways to connect with customers, but many salespeople fall into the same phone call/email pattern without giving it much thought. The channel you use can make or break the relationship.
Consider these factors when deciding on a follow-up channel:
Your prospects’ age: Millennials are more likely to respond to an email or text message follow-up than a disruptive call. Yet, older contacts might appreciate the thoughtfulness of a well-timed phone call. Generational differences can put a barrier between salesperson and prospect, so be sure to take their age into account.
The nature of your relationship: How many times have you spoken with the prospect? What channels do they respond to the fastest? How casual and comfortable is the conversation? Asking yourself these questions can help gauge which channel will make the biggest impact.
Is the prospect on the West Coast or East Coast (or somewhere completely different)? Beyond getting your timing down, East Coasters tend to favor picking up the phone while West Coasters prefer a leisurely email.
What is your prospects’ preference? Depending on the rapport you’ve built up with your prospect, you may be able to just ask. Of course, beware the blow off if they suggest email and then simply don’t respond.
How can you surprise and delight your prospect? Email and phone calls are the default, but is there another way you can reach out to prospects that might resonate more? FranchiseHelp reports 90% of leads prefer to be texted instead of called, and exchanging texts with a qualified lead can increase conversions by over 100%, according to Velocify. If you’re feeling really bold, you might even try including a clever gif or emoji to create the connection you need to make the sale.
Even if you’re no stranger to the follow-up, implementing these tips is a great way to sharpen your sales skills. The same goes for using Dialpad. See for yourself how our real-time call transcription, live coaching and sentiment analysis can up your sales game by signing up for a free trial today!