Sales Advice: When should you follow up with a prospect?

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Read this post by Wilson of the Inspire Beats blog team on recognizing the best time to follow up with a prospect and how to do so effectively. Reprinted with permission

Following up with a prospect is extremely important. I was personally able to close a few of my recent deals as well as our customer’s deals because of following up. While this sounds very nice, I’ve also ruined relationships and lost deals due to aggressive follow up.

When to follow up?

The best time to follow up is when a prospect haven’t responded yet, but this depends on the situation of how you reached out to that prospect. For example, if the prospect was a warm intro/referral from one of your existing contacts, then it makes more sense to follow up with them more than once because you already developed a trust between the prospect and the prospect might already have an interest in your product/service.

If you cold email someone from a list of email leads that you bought, then you should not follow up too aggressively because it might mean that they do not have any interest in your product/service. It is still good to follow up at least once to make sure that your email didn’t get lost in their mailbox, but if they still don’t respond, then it’s probably best to wait until you have a reason to follow up again.

We notice that the people who don’t respond after a follow up from a cold email, might not respond ever or show interest in your product. The last thing you want to do is end up being too pushy and ruining your brand.

If the prospect replied to your initial email/call and showed interest , but does not respond to your emails, then you should follow up as much as possible.

Have a reason to follow up

Simply saying, “Hey, I’m just checking in” is usually never enough. We notice that those types of follow up phrases just doesn’t work as well.

Instead, always have a reason to follow up. Heck, it could be the most simple reason, but find one. It could be a blog article they just posted up or a press mention on the web. Congratulate them with a follow up.

The most effective emails are the emails that can create a sense of urgency. Have a reason to make them feel good about your product/service and have a reason for them to continue speaking with you to buy.

Have a call to action when following up

It’s important to have a call to action at the end of your following up. No point in just messaging the prospect and saying, “Hey I’m following up. What’s up?” Have a call to action. For example, “I’m free on Tuesday at 2pm , 4pm, and 6pm. I’m also free on Thursday during the same time. Does any of those time work for you for a quick call?”

Another call to action could be an offer that you are offering them. Have a reason and have solid purpose. For example, “We’re offering 30% discount only for you. Here is the discount code : “Code”. You can checkout using this link – “examplelink.com”

The whole point of that follow up message above is to create a sense of urgency as well as make it so simple to customers so that they don’t have to visit your site again to find a checkout link or look back into an email chain. Create an impulse moment during a follow up.

Use tools to automate your follow up

If you are dealing with a lot of prospect on a daily basis, then it might be smart to use tools to remind yourself to follow up. This can be any tool, even if it is as basic as an excel sheet with email reminders. Just have something to remind yourself to follow up. Below are tools that are excellent to reminding yourself to follow up.

– Trello: You can set notification and notes with this.

– Followup.cc: Simply add this to your CC and it will remind you to follow up.

– Boomerang: Most sales people love this because of how it sends you inbox reminders and it’s simple to choose when you want to follow up.

– CRM platforms: Close.io / Outreach.io / Quickmail all works great as a platform for following up.

When not to follow up

Following up too aggressively screwed me over a couple of times. An example would be a SaaS startup that showed interest in Inspire Beat’s lead generation and prospecting service. The CEO of this company fully understood the value that we could provide for them and also replied with “Let’s do it!”

I followed up with a link for checkout and confirmation but never received a response for weeks. I followed up almost every other day for a month straight and finally received a reply saying that I was too pushy and it made that company not feel confident in what we can do for them.

Another time to stop following up is when the prospect shows no interest in your product. If they say, we’re not interested, then stop bothering them because it won’t get anywhere and it will just ruin your personal brand.

This does not mean that you can’t reach out to them again in the future. They might be interested in your product/service in the future but again have a reason to do it and give it at least a few months.

Timing for follow up

Timing is extremely important. As I mention above, you don’t want to be too aggressive or too pushy. Following up works best for us on Tuesday, Wednesdays, and Thursdays when potential clients aren’t swamped from weekend work that they have to catch up on. Holidays doesn’t work well for follow up and weekends doesn’t work well either.

If the prospect still haven’t responded after a few follow up emails/calls, set the follow up dates to be further apart to prevent yourself from sounding too pushy.

Following up on other platforms

Following up doesn’t have to be via email. Most people are stuck on email follow up. You can try social media, their blog (comment on their blog), linkedin, phone call, introductions and almost anywhere else the prospect might be hanging around at.

At the end of the day, following up is just giving the prospect a reminder that you still remember them.

See the original post here

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons

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David Silverberg
David Silverberg is the former editor-in-chief of Digital Journal Inc. He helped pioneer Digital Journal's proprietary technology to leverage content from writers from across the world. He was the host of Digital Journal's annual Future of Media event. David has been published in various publications, writing on everything from technology trends to celebrity profiles.