If you want to be a top-performing sales professional, look at customer follow-up as your friend that enables you to close a lot of deals quickly.
Can you believe that over 50% of sales professionals stop following up after two calls, or two different outreaches?
In this post and video, we’re going to talk about how to make follow-up your friend and how to be a master at follow-up to allow you to close more deals.
Stand Out With This Customer Follow-Up Approach
Here’s the thing about follow-up. I’m not going to give you a follow-up sequence. You can come up with your own, whether you follow up
- every couple of days, or
- once a day, or
- whatever the case is, every situation is different.
Instead, I’m going to give you behaviors and approaches you can use in general no matter what you sell that will allow you to ensure that you do follow up quickly.
Here’s the first one:
1. Respond to Prospects Quickly
When a prospect or even a client or customer who can buy more from you reaches out, respond quickly.
Now, let me differentiate those for a second. If you’re managing an account and it’s a huge account and you’ve got people reaching out with all sorts of questions, this is not the scenario I’m talking about.
I’m talking about the situation where a prospect that I met with in the prior week reaches out to me with a question on a Sunday afternoon.
If I see the question on Sunday afternoon, I’m responding on Sunday afternoon.
Now, not because I’m trying to take away life balance, right? If it’s that important to you, then take some time off later in the week.
But, I’m responding on the same day because I’ve got the prospect’s attention, they have set aside some time on their Sunday to ask me a question. Assuming it’s a decent question, I’m going to respond Sunday afternoon because there’s a chance we’ll get into a back-and-forth.
Now again, you might say, well Sean, that takes away my personal time. True.
But if the prospect’s ready to go, if they’ve got good questions and you can respond, you’re demonstrating to them the following:
If Sean’s ready to answer my questions now and he’s this responsive, now what will happen if we actually buy from Sean or Sean’s company?
That’s what you’re putting into their mind when you’re responding like this.
So don’t wait until Monday at 10 o’clock after your sales meeting to get back to them. That’s what they expect.
Be responsive to all new prospects, to set a precedence as to what they can expect from you, your company, your products, and services if they buy from you.
2. Be Creative With Customer Follow-Up
When it comes to following up, we need to be creative. Too many sales professionals that I train and coach tend to approach follow-up in the same manner every time.
So, let’s say you and I have a meeting, we agree to the next meeting, but then you cancel that meeting. What do I do? I send an email, then I send another email and I follow up on the first email to the second email and after a few emails I call you and I say, “I’m really confused. We’re supposed to have a meeting. You’re not getting back to me in an email. Is everything okay? Are you okay?” And, then I send another email.
It’s the same thing over and over and over again.
So when a prospect tends to ghost them or at least disappear temporarily, the follow-up becomes very routine, which is first off boring from the standpoint of the prospect and what they’re receiving.
Secondly, it’s what all of your competitors are doing. They’re sending emails, making calls over and over and over if you’re really lucky to go to LinkedIn.
These are all strategies, but what I want you to do is include some creativity in your customer follow-up.
So let’s say we have a meeting and it went well and I need to follow up with you. I’m going to maybe send you something like a written thank you card in the mail, and courier it so it gets there quickly.
It says (all written by me), “Hey, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it and looking forward to our call Tuesday morning at 10:00 AM.”
That’s it. Make it simple. It doesn’t have to be complex, and doesn’t have to be difficult.
But you want to stand out from your competitors, do something different from them, and you want to make sure your follow-up is creative because that is how we get and retain the attention of our prospects doing what everybody else is doing.
Sending emails is lazy. You need to be creative.
- something in the mail,
- something in courier, or
- send them a BombBomb or Vidyard video of you saying, Hey, thank you so much for that meeting. It was really great to meet you and the team. I’m looking forward to our call next Tuesday at 10, and if you need something in the meantime, reach out.” That’s the video. Simple.
But make sure you’re using creativity because that is going to help you stand out and it’s going to elevate your follow-up so that you can actually move towards the close.
3. Use the 5 Follow-Up Strategy
This next step is what I call the five follow-up strategy.
Now, there are lots of studies that suggest you need to follow up 12 times, 18 times. I mean, you name it, and every situation is different. It would be silly of us to assume that every situation is the same, but what I find in general terms is you can use the five follow-up strategy and you’re guaranteed to get a response.
Now, this assumes that you’re being creative like we talked about before, and ultimately you’re responsive. If the prospect does get back to you, you don’t leave it for a day or half a day, right? You get back to them very quickly.
Here are the five responses. You’ve just got five different steps spaced out from the initial outreach.
Step 2: Next, if I don’t hear back from you that day that you canceled, I’m going to check 24 hours later, late the next day. Hey, not sure if you got my email yesterday, wanted to reschedule these dates and time ranges I sent you are still valid, okay? Or at least stroke out the one that’s not valid.
Step 4: Now, if you don’t hear anything back within 24 hours, wait another 24 hours. So now I’ve extended this a bit and I want you to go to social media if you’re not connected already, and you should be prior to your first meeting, make sure you do connect and send a personalized message using LinkedIn that says, “Hey, it was great talking to you last week. Sorry, we couldn’t make Monday’s meeting work. Is there a better time for you?” And just leave it at that. No dates, no time options. Just leave it wide open. Give them till the next week.
If that doesn’t work, you mail them something. Now, I’m not going to get into the mailing side. That’s different, but my point is this, if you set the goal of following up five times spaced out, as I’ve suggested, being creative in your outreach and changing up the channels, you’re going to find you’re going to get a response.
- Don’t give up after one time.
- Don’t give up after two.
Five times and then you move them to the quarterly customer follow-up where you reach out every quarter because clearly they’ve changed their mind or something has changed and they’re not interested right now. So use the “five follow-up strategy” to make sure your follow-ups are effective.
4. Add Them to Your Quarterly Customer Follow-Up Campaign
As I mentioned, if the five follow-up strategy doesn’t work for you, then put them on a quarterly follow-up campaign. Now, you might probably say, what’s a follow-up campaign?
You should have something that you send out quarterly to all of your past prospects that the sale didn’t happen. They might’ve gone with your competitor, they might’ve dropped you and you don’t know what happened, but you should stay in touch with them every quarter.
Now, what you send them is up to you, and it will differ depending on what you sell:
- it could be a brochure,
- a newsletter that you create on Canva, or
- simply an email you send out with some updated information.
Don’t though, make it some cheesy, horribly pieced-together email that just shows all the sales, right? I mean, maybe put that at the bottom, send it, and make it creative. That’s going back to the initial goal that follow-up’s got to be creative, but every quarter, go back to that list and reach out.
Now, if somebody says, stop reaching out, okay, you can stop. That’s fine.
But otherwise, if you’ve qualified them, then you should keep in touch because you never know when the right time’s going to be for them.
So, put them on your quarterly follow-up and keep following up.
Now, you can see, and I want to explain before we wrap this up, that if you follow these steps, you’re going to be doing a lot of follow-up, but that’s good.
That means that the prospects you’re getting, you’re working them and you’re spending time on them and with them, which builds trust, it creates a relationship, and they come to expect your follow-up, which again, keeps you top of mind. That’s the goal of follow-up if they’re not actually going to respond and let you know what’s happening.
We at least want to stay top of mind, and these strategies do so make sure you
- accelerate, and
- advance your customer follow-up strategies by applying these tips.
And if you’d like more videos on how to be a top-performing sales professional, visit my YouTube channel. There’s lots more there for you.
© Shawn Casemore 2023. All Rights Reserved.