Sales follow-ups are a vital part of closing. This is where you truly make or break the deal. Every follow-up is different due to the difference in clients, so there is no definite right answer on how to go about a follow-up. We can, however, give you some general tips and tricks to help ease the follow-up process and end with a new client.
Ask the client the best way to follow up
Every client situation is different, and that means every follow-up situation can be different too. What works for one client isn’t always going to work for another. Emails, phone calls, text messages, etc. – there are a bunch of stats out there that might tell you one is better than the other for a follow-up. What you really have to keep in mind when deciding how best to follow up is the client.
The client is the only one who can answer the follow-up question with one-hundred percent accuracy. They know what form of communication they use most or what works best to reach them on. Just simply ask before the end of the conversation what form of communication is best to reach them on again. This approach will increase your follow-up percentage by using the best medium and by allowing the client the power to choose how you follow up with them. Asking the client allows them to be better prepared.
Is the client sure they don’t want to commit to your product or service right now? Still, ask what the best way to reach them is in the future. Let them know you’d like to stay in contact and will follow up with them later in the year.
Ask the client what their response rate is
Along with figuring out their best form of communication, make sure you are also setting an expectation for responsiveness. Ask how long you should expect before receiving a response through email, text, or a phone call. You should also ask if there are any special parameters to include in the follow-up, such as using the word important in a subject line or marking an email as urgent. These special cues can help you reach the client much quicker.
If you get the client to reveal how they like to be communicated with, they’ll respond much quicker. By finding their best form of communication and how long it usually takes for them to respond, you can hold them accountable much easier.
Provide valuable information to each conversation
Never call a prospective client just to touch base. You need to add new and valuable information each time you follow up with a client. Each time you talk to the client, you want to be able to bait them into wanting to learn more. Simply calling just to ask if they’ve made a decision yet is not effective.
Follow-ups are where your conversation summary and research come in handy. Explain more in-depth how your company can help them, features you have available that fit their specific needs, value points you didn’t touch on the first time, anything that adds value for your client.
End each conversation with a clearly defined next step
Be sure to repeat back a quick outline of what you and the client just talked about and end the conversation by outlining the next steps in the process. The follow-up should be one that’s adding more information not asking when you can speak to them again. The end of the current discourse is always the best time to ask when the client has time to talk again, considering they are already on the phone and thinking about your company.
Lock them down for the next step by asking when they can meet next. This will show the client you’re excited to close a deal with them.
Summarize your conversation
This tool is to help you and the client. Lots can be said over the phone and inbetween emails. Having a nicely laid out summary of previous conversations can help jog the client’s memory but also your own.
You want the client to remember the key features of the product or service you’re selling, but you also want to remember the key aspects of the client’s business and concerns. Reiterating that you know and understand the client’s concerns and benefits of using your product/service lets the client know that you were listening and are invested in helping them.
If you haven’t received a response from your follow-up message, reach out again. We recommend waiting two days before sending another message. In the second message, make sure you’re still adding value. Focus on a different part of the product/service that would add value to their company.
The third times a charm, right? Give it one last two day grace period if they still haven’t responded. Make sure to again add more value and mention, in a nice tone, how you’ve tried to reach out twice already. End the message by stating how you believe your product/service can benefit their specific company. Clearly state that you are available to answer any questions or concerns they still might have.
Still haven’t received a response? Wait a longer period and try again. Allow time for their busy schedule to die down and your current messages to be considered longer. After approximately a month, reach out for a fourth time, asking if they’ve had time to look over your proposal and lay out some of the basics again, reminding them what you’ve previously discussed.
Remember, each follow-up is slightly different and the only person who knows exactly how the client is going to react is the client themselves. Don’t be afraid to ask them their thoughts on the follow-up process. As you work on your follow-up process here are some helpful facts:
- 50% of all sales happen after the 5th contact, but most reps give up after just 2. [InsideSales]
- 83% of prospects who request information don’t buy for 3–12 months. [MarketingDonut]
- 70% of salespeople stop at one email. Yet if you send more emails, you have a 25% chance to hear back. [YesWare]
- Sales pros who try to reach leads in one hour are seven times more likely to have meaningful conversations. [HubSpot]
- 35-50% of sales go to the company that responds first. [InsideSales]
- 95% of buyers chose a company that “provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process.” [DemandGen Report]
- On the phone, your tone is 86% of your communication. The words we actually use are only 14% of our communication. [ContactPoint]
- The ideal voicemail message is between 8 and 14 seconds. [The Sales Hunter]
- 33% of email recipients click on emails based on subject line alone. [Convince and Convert]