We’ve seen it time and time again – you meet with someone, you follow up with them and when they don’t respond, you give up. The excuses begin to pile up: “I’m too busy”; “I need to spend time in front of new prospects, not chasing down possibilities”; “I left the person a voicemail; they never responded.” All those excuses are nonsense! Often the real reason people don’t follow up is because they’re terrified of rejection. But following up is a critical sales skill you must develop to produce sales growth. In fact, a recent study showed that 80% of sales are made on the 5th contact. If you’re not regularly in touch with your clients and prospects, you’re likely missing out on potential sales and relationship-building opportunities.
Don’t give up on your prospects! Take follow-up seriously because it could be costing you.
Here are a few tips on the best ways to follow up with people:
- Send them something of value. Send an informational sheet, a report, a thank you note – something they would be interested in rather than a generic newsletter or email that you send to everyone.
- Send an email. State your interest in what they do, add something that reminds them why they would be interested in you, make a connection on something you discussed, and then ask for a phone call or coffee to discuss in more details.
- Use LinkedIn. Connect with them on LinkedIn and send a personal message about your encounter.
- Call them. It may sound old fashioned, but try calling them! One can appreciate the personal touch of a phone call sometimes over an email. It shows you care enough about your meeting that you want to keep in touch.
- Check Twitter. It may seem like the ‘millennial’ thing to do, but tweet the person. It shows you are interested, engages them in a more casual forum, and will grab their attention.
- Rinse and Repeat. Repeat the above steps five, six, or even seven times because that’s exactly how long it can take to capture someone’s attention.
So ask yourself, are you doing enough to stay in touch? If not, try putting the above measures in place over the next several months and see if it works for you. Since few salespeople follow up with prospects, you will stand out when you do. Even if the person does not immediately return your e-mail, he/she will remember your efforts. When the person is ready to make the buying decision, your name will be the first one your prospect thinks of.