An effective follow-up is a key element of the sales process, but all too often salespeople lose the attention of their prospects after the initial pitch. Why? There are many reasons why you might lose engagement, but usually, it comes down to a lack of personalization and ineffective follow-up communications.
Do you, for instance, wait a few days then call your prospect to “check in”? Bad move. Think of this from their point of view… “check in” for what? Why should they return your call? If they’re not ready to buy, this approach is at best lazy and at worst a major annoyance...
So what should you do? Read on to learn the key follow-up strategies you need to employ to keep your prospect engaged and, more importantly, keen to buy.
Personalize Your Follow-Up
Before we even get to the content of your follow-up, the first step is to make sure you are connecting with a prospect on their terms. During your exploratory questions, find out the best way to connect with them - is it by email, phone, text or maybe their favourite social network? This is important intel and will make it easier for you to connect with them, without annoying them, as you go forward. Also, you want to make sure that each time you connect with them, you are adding value, so keep track of their particular interests and concerns.
Have a Reason to Follow-Up
As mentioned above, you don’t want to come across as an annoyance to your prospect so each time you contact them there better be a darn good reason. Here are some great reasons to call/email that go beyond the boring “check in”:
- Answers to Questions: In your initial phone call or meeting, it’s often a good thing if you don’t have all the answers on the spot as it’s a great excuse for a welcome follow-up. Make sure you respond to unanswered questions quickly and effectively.
- Personalized Content: If you are using tools like Bigtincan or KnowledgeTree, they’ll help you easily find relevant content that is tailored to your prospect and pique their interest. Then you can flip them a quick email, with a line like, “Thought you might be interested in this based on our last conversation…” and then follow up with a few days later to discuss the article in question. If you don’t have access to those platforms, a simple Google alert can set you up for follow-up success in a similar way.
- New Information: A great way to get your prospect excited about your product or service is to be excited about it yourself. When there are changes, improvements or new features on offer, get in contact and share the good news! As always, be ready to explain how anything new can help them and their specific business and keep the call focused on them after the initial excitement.
- Customer Testimonials or Case Studies: These are important to share with prospects for obvious reasons, but again, keep it tailored and personalised. Make sure the testimonial or case study comes from a happy customer who had similar needs or interests as your current prospect.
- Help Them Out: Success in sales is about convincing a prospect your company or product is the best solution to their business pain. But what if you can help them out in other ways? It’s another great reason to follow-up! Listening carefully is key here. Don’t just listen for ways your product or service can help, often the smallest, seemly inconsequential details can give you a way to connect. Heard them say they are looking for a venue to host a retirement party for a long-standing member of the team? Flip them an email with your recommendation of a great restaurant. They mention that their daughter is looking to buy a house? Maybe you can recommend a great realtor. The gold standard is if you can refer some business their way. So keep your eyes and ears open!
Define Clear Next Steps
We all know that actually connecting with a prospect in the first place is a large part of the battle. So if you’ve managed to get so far as to have a meeting or call with a prospect, don’t blow it by letting them go without having clearly defined next steps in place. Ask them at the end of any meeting or call to put a date in the calendar when you can reconnect. Don’t let them off with an excuse that they’ll get back to you after they’ve mulled it over or discussed it with their team. Say something like, “I know how busy you are, so let’s put a date in the calendar now when we can continue this conversation after you’ve had a chance to think it over.” Most people will find it difficult to say no when you pose something so politely and reasonably.
Need more advice on engaging prospects? Take a look at our professional selling training programs that provide you with everything you need to succeed.
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