From Prospect to Profit: Why You Should Stop Avoiding Follow-Ups — Nimble

Let’s face it, it’s very rare for any sale to happen without a timely follow-up. How many times have you heard that  80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls but 44% of salespeople give up after just one follow-up? 

You’d think that if we knew that getting to “yes” during the sales process was simply a matter of following up, everyone would do it.  But we don’t.  And the reason isn’t because you (or your salesperson) is bad or doesn’t know what they’re doing. 

It’s because we’ve come to define successful selling as closing deals rather than rigorously repeating a set of actions or behaviors day in and day out.

Let me say this another way. Closing deals is a function of consistently doing behaviors that lead to sales.  The key word here is BEHAVIORS.

You see, million dollar salespeople know that they can’t control what the prospect is going to do.  They can only control what THEY are going to do.  And they can control who they reach out to, who they connect with, how often they connect, and the value they bring to this relationship.

Million dollar salespeople know that if they repeat these behaviors daily, they will connect with ideal customers, close big deals, and get referrals of more ideal customers.

What is Follow-Up in the Sales Process? – It’s Value Not Nagging

Somehow we’ve all decided that following up is nagging or stalking.  Maybe that comes from the common mindset that salespeople are trying to persuade you to buy something you don’t want or need.

Let’s just assume that the job of a salesperson is to help the customer achieve a desired outcome. 

With that in mind, let’s look at a generic sales process: 

  1. Prospecting: Identify potential customers who may need your product or service and can afford it. This involves researching and finding leads.
  2. Preparation: Gather all relevant information about your product or service and prepare for the initial contact with potential customers.
  3. Outreach: Make the first contact with the prospect, whether through a call, email, or meeting, to introduce your product or service.
  4. Presentation: Present your offer to the prospect, highlighting the benefits and value of your product or service tailored to their needs.
  5. Handling Objections: Address any concerns or objections the prospect may have about your offer and provide solutions to overcome them.
  6. Closing: Ask for the sale or commitment from the prospect, guiding them towards making a decision to purchase.
  7. Follow-up: After closing the sale, follow up with the customer to ensure satisfaction, address any post-sale concerns, and build a long-term relationship.

Notice that follow-up is usually listed as the last step.  But successful salespeople live by a single mantra “always be following up”.

Yep, following up is happening every day, at every stage of the process.  

I like to define follow-up as the NEXT ACTION I need to take to move this prospect into the next phase of the process.

Remember I said that successful salespeople are focused on behaviors and actions that they control.  So at each stage of the sales process this is what these actions might look like:

  1. Prospecting: Spend about an hour every day prospecting.  Finding new prospects can mean cold outreach, relationship building, helping other people achieve their goals, building your brand, posting on social media, answering questions, etc. 
  2. Preparation: Take the time to look up each prospect or referral partner online, check out their social media, identify areas where you share an interest, before you ever reach out, share their content, comment on their content, etc. 
  3. Outreach: Once you’ve qualified each prospect or referral partner and seeded the interaction with your engagement and helped them with their goals, you’re on their radar, and you can reach out and ask for a conversation so that you can get to know each other better.
  4. First Round of Follow-Up: Here we go.  If your “outreach” was via socal or email but a meeting didn’t get scheduled – follow-up to schedule that meeting.  If you had the meeting, do some preparation after the meeting and see how you can help this new contact (or prospect) achieve their goals.  This doesn’t just happen once.  After all, their world doesn’t revolve around you.  You may need to reach out anywhere from 3-7 times. 
  5. Presentation: All that preparation, research, and listening comes into play as you present your solution to the prospect.  Your goal here isn’t to sell, rather it’s to identify any obstacles, stumbling blocks, unanswered questions. 
  6. Second Round of Follow Ups (Handling Objections): The “sale” here isn’t the deal, it’s to make sure that your prospect’s questions are answered. Do they need to talk to other customers of yours, do they need to present this to their boss. The goal here is to support your prospect in whatever they need to choose you. Again, this can take several tries. But follow-up is part of your daily ritual – so no sweat.
  7. Closing (more follow-ups): Sales trainers make closing seem so sterile – as if it’s this one time event.  Closing the deal is a function of how well you did all the success behaviors.  If you did a good job of following-up with value, integrity, and a focus on helping your prospect – the close is the natural outcome.  
  8. Final Follow-Ups: If you won the deal, this round of follow-ups is all about onboarding the new customer as part of your “family”.  If you didn’t close the deal, it’s about understanding what was missing.  Maybe they weren’t an ideal prospect and that goes into your lessons for future prospecting.

So, if successful selling is all about consistently taking action that moves your prospect forward, then the entire sales process is really nothing more than a series of follow-ups.

Not only that, but following up isn’t just nagging the prospect – every follow-up MUST provide VALUE to the prospect.  

Why is Following Up Important? 

Following up is, by far, the single most important money-making activity. Just not the way you think. But it requires a shift in mindset about sales and what makes sales happen.

So much of sales is about shifting your mindset from only counting a closed deal as a win to counting every step toward the sale as a win. Let me explain.

Imagine that over the course of a month you’ve had 100 sales interactions with prospects. This includes everything from social messages, calls, meetings, presentations, etc. And those 100 interactions yielded 10 completed sales.  Let’s say that each sale was worth $10,000.  So 10 sales at $10,000 each is $100,000.  And let’s say that this ratio of interactions to closed sales is fairly consistent month over month. 

Here’s where the mindset shift happens.  Given these numbers, you can say that every one of those 100 interactions is eventually worth $1000 toward your goal.  In other words, when you follow the process, do the actions repeatedly, and consistently, you will eventually close 10 new deals.

So, if you knew that you would make $1000 every time you did a specific action – would you do it?

Timing is Everything: Crafting the Perfect Sales Follow-Up Schedule

If sales were a dance, then timing would be its rhythm. Just like you wouldn’t break into a tango at a breakdance battle, you wouldn’t want to follow up too soon or too late. 

The key is finding that sweet spot, that perfect rhythm that keeps the prospect engaged without stepping on their toes. 

For instance, your first follow-up? It’s your opening move, and it should come within 24 hours after your initial contact. It shows you’re attentive and on the ball. From there, space your follow-ups strategically—like the beats in a song, with each touchpoint perfectly timed to keep the melody flowing. Maybe it’s a check-in email three days later, a value-add article after a week, or a friendly nudge if you haven’t heard back in two. 

Remember, the perfect sales follow-up schedule is like a well-composed symphony—every note counts, and timing is everything.

By the Numbers: Surprising Stats That Will Change How You Follow Up

Numbers don’t lie, especially in sales. Did you know that following up within an hour of the initial contact can boost your response rates by a staggering 7x? Or that Tuesdays and Thursdays are the golden days for sending those all-important follow-up emails? Here’s a number for you: 5 to 6. 

That’s the sweet spot for the number of follow-up attempts you should be making. Beyond that, you might just be shouting into the void. Armed with these stats, you can tailor your follow-up efforts to not just be more effective, but downright irresistible. After all, who can argue with the math?

Top CRM Solutions: Finding Your Sales Sidekick

Imagine having a sidekick, one that remembers every detail, keeps track of every interaction, and even nudges you when it’s time to reach out to a prospect. That’s what a CRM solution does—it’s your sales cape, your secret weapon. 

But not all CRMs are created equal. You need one that fits just right, like a tailor-made suit. Look for a CRM that’s intuitive, integrates seamlessly with your existing tools, and, most importantly, keeps you focused on what matters: building relationships. 

Whether it’s managing your pipeline, automating follow-up tasks, or providing insights on when to reach out, the right CRM can turn you into a follow-up superhero.

Introducing Nimble: Where Relationships Meet Results

Now, let me introduce you to a CRM that’s not just about tracking sales—it’s about nurturing relationships. 

Meet Nimble. It’s like the best friend you never knew you needed for your business. Nimble understands that at the heart of every sale is a relationship. It helps you keep track of every interaction, ensuring you’re always in tune with your prospect’s needs and ready to provide value. 

With Nimble, following up feels less like a task and more like a natural step in strengthening your connections. It’s where efficiency meets empathy, turning every follow-up into an opportunity to deepen your client relationships and, ultimately, drive results.

Get Excited About Following-Up

Let’s get straight to the point: follow-ups are where the real money is in sales. It’s not about nagging or arm-twisting; it’s about showing up with value, proving your worth, and building relationships that last. 

So, drop the hesitation and start seeing every follow-up as your opportunity to shine, to offer solutions, and to demonstrate that you’re in it for more than just the sale. After all, the path to closing deals is paved with consistent, value-driven follow-ups. Make it your strength, and watch as it transforms your sales game.