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Sales Strategy
Five Ways to Master the Follow-Up in Sales
Jan 19, 2018 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

When you were young, your parents likely chased you to clean your room, do the dishes, take out the trash, or do some other household chore. If you are a parent now, you probably do the same thing with your own children. Why? Because reminders work.

The same principles are true in sales, though the execution should definitely be different. If you know you need to follow-up with prospects, but don’t want to seem like a nagging parent, use these techniques.

1.     Discover the Decision-Maker

You’ll never get anywhere with your sales efforts if you don’t know who ultimately buys your product. Your first step to success, therefore, is to ask questions that help you determine who the decision maker is at this organization.

Your marketing team should provide you with a persona of your typical buyer, so use this as a starting point. However, the specific buyer at each organization could vary depending on the size, hierarchy, and processes. Discover who the decision maker is as soon as possible so that you can follow up with the right person.

2.     Be Persistent

The follow-up process can be tedious and unrewarding – it can seem like your follow-ups are not getting you anywhere. Don’t be overly concerned about pestering your prospect with too many messages, calls, or emails, however. Chances are, your prospect has several projects on the go and the reminders are actually helpful. Persistence pays off when it comes to follow-ups, so don’t give up too early.

3.     Follow a Plan

Your messages and calls do need to have a relevant message if your persistence is going to pay off, however.  Following up with a prospect with a message that says “hey, just wondering if you’ve made a decision yet” over and over again is not going to push your sales cycle forward.

Work with your team to discover best-practices and patterns that work well for your sales cycle. Use this information to develop a follow-up plan that focuses on providing relevant content or discovering new information with each follow-up. This way, follow-ups will be valuable rather than annoying.

4.     Use a Variety of Channels

Don’t limit yourself to one channel of communication. People prefer to communicate through different channels and at different times. Certain modes of communication also work better for different purposes, so try a variety of methods depending on the type of content you want to share or information you wish to gather.

Your prospects may receive hundreds of emails a day, so calling them may work best for getting their undivided attention. Twitter or Linkedin may be better tools for sharing content, however.

5.     Schedule Your Next Meeting

The main point of following-up is to secure a meeting, so don’t leave it to chance. If you have followed-up successfully and your prospect has agreed to a meeting, schedule it right then and there. If you wait until you get off the phone or start a new email thread, their attention may have moved on to something else. Don’t risk losing the meeting after all of your hard work – find a time that works and block it off in their calendar.

Using these tips, you’ll ultimately be successful in your follow-up techniques. Who knows, you may even be able to use some of these tricks at home to get your kids to fold that laundry.

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