8 Ways To Follow-up in Sales Without Annoying Your Prospects

You’ve done the primary research on a prospect and it looks like your product is a good fit for their company. The next step you’d take is to get them on the phone.

You may connect with them on your first try or your fourth, but the real struggle is when you have to follow-up with them and get them to commit. And there are so many things that can go wrong. You either contact too often, oversell your product, or you come out as pushy and annoying.

How to stand out from the other companies? What’s the best way to break through inbox clutter? And how do you toe the fine line between being persistent and being flat-out annoying? In this article, I’ll take you through a few ways in which you can follow-up with prospects without bothering them.

1. Decide Between Email And Phone Communication

The first thing to do is to choose the right channel to communicate with your prospects. You can do it via email or phone. Some salespeople go with an email while others prefer to just pick up the phone and talk. Both these approaches have pros and cons. Let’s look at both channels and then decide.

Emails

Emails are visual when compared to a phone call and give time for a prospect to think through what you’re stating. It can be bookmarked, labeled as “follow-up later” or “important”, or forwarded if the prospect feels like it could benefit their friends or colleagues.

Now, think about the number of emails you get in your inbox every day. Maybe 100 or 200. And how many of those do you actually read? Not a lot, just the ones that stand out to you and the ones from people you recognize. Any other message will probably get a quick subject-line glance followed by a trek to the archives, the spam folder, or the trash can. What you have to remember is that you may not get a response from your first email as inbox clutter is too common.

Get ready to send multiple emails if you plan on using this approach. Here, you must give a lot of importance to the subject line, as it acts as the underlying factor to open your email or not.

How To Follow-up with Prospects

Phone Banking

A phone call can easily grab a prospect’s attention and immediately establish you as a human being rather than a spam-bot. If you’re an extrovert or love talking over the phone then consider phone banking to follow-up with prospects, this way you can build a personal relationship and get to the convert stage sooner.

However easy this may sound, you should always be prepared to leave a voicemail. This doesn’t guarantee that the prospect has heard the message. And you probably have to try calling them more than once, being the only downside of making phone calls.

Take The Middle Road

If you’re still on the crossroads, then my advice is to make use of both phone and email to follow-up with prospects. Start off with a sequence of phone calls or emails, three or four per prospect, from introducing your product or service, to adding value, and being persistent. If the prospect hasn’t responded after the first four attempts, break-up already!

2. Use Less Formal Channels To Build Rapport With Prospects

Apart from phone or email, there are other ways to connect with prospects that let you be persistent and personal at the same time. Here’s what you can consider:

  1. Text messages: Nine out of ten texts are read within three minutes of delivery and are a fantastic medium for staying on the top of your prospect’s mind. You can have one-on-one conversations, follow-up for a demo after a call or to get them to convert. For example, a text message for a conversion would look like: Hi James, the 15% discount on our product ends this Friday. It would be great if you could decide quickly to avail premium support options. Let’s discuss this over a call. — Andy.
  2. Social media: Interacting with prospects via social networks help develop an affinity to nudge a prospect towards chatting with you. So, connect and engage prospects on social channels through your posts. To really keep them engaged your posts should have a compelling CTA indicating them to take a specific action.
  3. Referrals: If you can can’t find your prospects via social media and cannot reach them through phone calls or email, you can simply talk to the sales team of the organization where your prospect works. Salespeople have a lot of influence in an organization, so getting a referral or introduction from them will help you close leads faster.

3. Provide New And Valuable Information

Most follow-up emails or calls don’t work because they sound like a sales pitch. Just like a marketing email, a sales follow-up requires an angle and a hook that makes it interesting to read or listen to.

If you want your prospects to engage in the conversation you’re trying to have, it’s on you to tailor it to what they need by providing relevant information. Your message must:

  • First, focus on your prospect and their industry.
  • Second, talk about their pain points, which ties to your product.
  • Third, ask for something that‘s quick to complete, such as a short pre-scheduled call or a reference within their organization.

Share useful content, tell an entertaining story, or ask questions to keep the conversation going. Remember, sending new and valuable information can increase conversion rates by 3 times.

4. End Each Conversation With A Clearly Defined Next Step

The best time to get a commitment to another discussion is at the end of each conversation. If the phone conversation went well with a prospect, get them to agree to take the next step. Since they have their schedules in front of them, capitalize on the moment and lock them down for a follow-up.

If they ask for a proposal, ask them when they want to schedule a call to discuss it. And don’t let them get away with the good old “send it over and I’ll get back to you” line. Because once they leave without a commitment it becomes a game of cat and mouse.

5. Don’t Follow-Up Too Often

You want to get in touch with a prospect as soon as possible, which means calling them multiple times in a short period of time. But doing this can make you seem desperate and annoying. So how do you hit the sweet spot of calling enough to get in touch and not annoying them?

It’s simple. Create a follow-up schedule and stick to it. The schedule can differ based on your prospect’s location, the type of product or service you’re selling, or the season in which you call. If you’ve invested in marketing automation software, use that tool to email prospects on regular basis.

6. Be Persistent … Just For A While

If you haven’t got a response from your first phone and email combination, don’t give up, wait for two days and reach out again. This time focus on offering a solution to a different problem that your product or service solves.

Still no response? Wait another two days and then reach out again. Your third message restates that you’ve tried contacting twice before, not in an irritated tone, and offer more information. In this email, you can send one or two relevant materials from your blog that addresses a problem you think they’re experiencing. Make it clear you’re available to schedule a call to speak about their goals based on your expertise.

7. Work The Company, Not The Prospect

If you’re selling your product to small businesses, reaching out to one person could be enough. But if you’re selling to larger organizations, multiple people are involved in the buying decision and you need to build relationships with all of them.

Creating a personal working relationship with every person on the team in a short span of time is rather hard. So, focus on the company rather than the prospect. You can still bond with Peter Prospect about the fact that you both like to golf, but you need to make it clear to Peter as to how your product or service will improve not only his work but also work of all his team members.

And while pitching to larger organizations, you must focus on differentiating your product or service from the hundreds of companies selling a similar product and emphasis on the support you provide post-sale.

8. Know When It’s Time To Break Up

You’ve contacted the prospect three to four times and you still haven’t got a response. Now it’s time for you to send a “break-up” email. You might think telling them you’re giving up on them is a terrible idea, but you’re wrong. It’s okay to tell a prospect you will stop wasting their time.

Here’s a draft break-up email, that works:

Hi James,

I’ve tried multiple times to get in touch with you via phone and email, and I hate to keep bugging you. If or when you’d like help finding {name of your product}, let me know. For now, I’m closing your request for help. You can still get in touch with me at {phone number} and {email}.

Best,

Andy

Sending this email to unresponsive prospects almost always gets a response. Why? It’s basic psychology. Prospects are busy people and they rely on you to keep trying to get in front of them. So, when you send the break-up email it reminds them you’ve tried to contact them, you’re closing the conversation, and it’s their last chance to get something, which motivates them to let you know whether or not they’re interested in your product. Either way, the email is a good way to put the force of following up on your prospect.

Conclusion

Remember, it’s essential to be persistent in sales, but being annoying is always an option. If you stay polite, schedule your touches, commit to investing in the relationship, and try different mediums of contact, you’ll be able to get a response without being irritating. Follow these best practices to follow-up with prospects and close more sales.

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