Ever get annoyed when salespeople follow up? How much follow up is too much when selling?
Perhaps you’ve met with them?
They offered you solutions to that you were looking for, you wanted some time to think things through, and right after that meeting, they started those dreaded follow up calls.
The call in itself, or the caller, are probably not annoying.
They just happened to catch you at the wrong time; maybe at the end of a long day, or hours away from a high-pressure deadline.
So you end up responding with a brisk, ‘please call me later,’ or perhaps a slightly harsher ‘I can’t talk right now, I’ll call you when I’m free.’
Now let’s flip the table.
Ever found yourself waiting a month after a meeting with a prospect, and wondering why they haven’t answered you back?
The meeting went fantastic, the prospect definitely showed interest and said they needed some time to ‘discuss it internally’.
But it’s been a month since then, and there’s been no response to the gentle follow-up emails that you sent since then, and no response on your follow-up calls.
There are a few reasons your clients might not be responding:
- They’re busier than you think or know
- They’re not entirely convinced yet, or haven’t reached a decision yet
- They don’t like saying ‘No’
But for you, at the selling end of that conversation, you need an answer, even if it is a ‘No’.
So how much follow up is too much when selling?
Ways to follow up without being annoying
1. Don’t follow up to sell, follow up to HELP.
Don’t follow up to sell, follow up to HELP and add value.
Perhaps you can share an article that you think would be helpful or relevant, or send them a case study or an industry report that might give them some new insights.
You could even refer a client to them.
We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: You can add value much before the actual sale happens, so do!
People appreciate that.
2. Interact with them outside of the sales conversation – invite them to an exhibition, or a networking event
A great way to build some rapport with a client is to invite them to a networking event, a trade fair or an exhibition.
Some form of a semi-professional or work-related platform, for some face-time outside of just your sales meeting.
Once again, you could be adding some real value to them here, and giving them a chance to see that you’re a proactive, well-connected professional!
For them, they might end up having a fruitful event that opens new business opportunities and contacts, and they’ve seen you in a different light.
It’s win-win for everyone!
3. Work to their schedule
Now remember, they might be busier than you think or know.
If they give you a time and date to follow up, then follow that schedule.
If they’re busy when you reach out (even if they’re a little snappy!) stay polite, ask for another time to call them, and then follow up accordingly – don’t take it personally.
Get a date and time from them for you to call or reach out again, something convenient for them, and stick to it.
These are just simple ways of how you can stay on top of the mind of the customer, without actually just following up.
Again, in the process of this structured follow-up, be sure to use Tip 1: Add value to them. Remain on the top of their minds for reasons other than the fact that they’re a potential customer.
Now it’s not necessary that these tips will close the deal for you – there are so many other factors at play when a potential buyer is coming to a decision.
But, it’s important to ensure that throughout your interaction with a customer, you’re never giving them reason NOT to buy from you.
If you’re annoying them with a rigorous, daily or weekly follow-up that says ‘Hey, have you had the time to look at my proposal’, you might be doing just that – driving them away, or giving them a reason not to buy from you.
So remember, put yourself in their shoes.
Be mindful of their time and other commitments, always try and help them and add value, and show them that you understand their pressures!
You’re being genuine.
They’re much more likely to transact with someone that does all those things than just another salesperson with an agenda.
Would you like training to improve your follow up skills?
At the Academy for Sales Excellence, we’ve helped more than 100,000+ business operators and sales professionals improve their selling skills. We specifically teach ‘how much follow up is too much’ so that you can improve you end results.
Feel free to learn more about Certified Systematic Selling Strategies Training Course today.
About the Author
Sales Professor Ramez Helou is the founder and CEO of The Academy for Sales Excellence.