Sales follow-up is essential. How often should I follow up with prospects and clients? It’s a question I get a lot, and as attention spans have shortened over the years, my thoughts on this subject have changed… but not in the way you might expect.
I am very often asked how often we should follow up with prospects and clients. And while there is no “one size fits all” answer, there are a few guidelines I’ve found helpful over the years.
Sales Follow-Up Tip #1
First off, I believe it is usually better to err on the side of too much contact, rather than too little. Most people do exactly the opposite, and find out it’s a problem when they go back and discover that the prospect they’ve been targeting has purchased from someone else.
There are many reasons people give for not wanting to follow up too aggressively, but the most often cited is that they don’t want to be a _________.
Can you fill in the blank?
The don’t want to be a pest. Maybe you’ve said this to yourself on occasion, or maybe you’ve even said it to a prospect. “I don’t want to be a pest.”
The sentiment is good. We shouldn’t want to be a pest. However, being a pest is more often about the quality of communication than just the quantity. If I keep calling someone and asking, “Do you want to buy?” “Are you ready to place an order?” “Are you ready to pull the trigger?” “Can we get going today?” That can certainly come across like a pest.
But if we’re adding value in the communication instead, reaching out to them in an effort to help them identify and overcome obstacles, that can be seen as very helpful. When you’re taking a helpful approach, then it’s very unlikely you’ll be seen as a pest and you’ll be able to contact them more often.
Sales Follow-Up Tip #2
When you have established rapport or a working relationship with a good prospect or client, ask how often they would like you to be in touch. If they give you a rough guideline for contact (for example “every 90 days or so”), abide by their wishes, while keeping in mind the idea of #1, that it’s better to err on the side of too much contact rather than too little. So if they say every 90 days or so, maybe schedule it for 80, or 75, or even 70. Most people won’t be paying attention to their calendar that closely. If something interesting is happening, use it as an excuse to contact them even earlier.
For most businesses, I recommend at least a monthly newsletter or bulletin you can put out. If you can get your prospects interested in receiving that, then you’ll be reaching them at least once a month, and it won’t count toward the 90 days or whatever your prospect determined would be the optimal amount of contact.
Sales Follow-Up Tip #3
Attention spans have shortened over the years. For that reason, putting out shorter, punchier content more frequently might work better. However, there are exceptions to this. People WILL pay attention to longer communications, whether it’s video, audio or text, as long as it remains interesting and engaging. You can engage people for more than an hour, or you can bore them in less than five minutes. It all depends on what you’re saying and how it directly benefits them.
Important: Don’t Base the Frequency of Your Marketing on the Preferences of Non-Buyers
I was once told by someone who was not a client of mine, that my marketing was too aggressive. I thanked him for his opinion and I removed him from my follow up, so we wouldn’t contact him again. But I didn’t change the frequency or the aggressiveness of my marketing, because I track my leads and I know that my methods work extremely well with those who actually have an interest in my products and services and the ability to buy.
This experience caused me to adopt a policy that has served me well for many, many years. Never base the frequency of your marketing on the preferences of those who have no interest in buying from you! Their opinions simply don’t count.
Listen instead to your paying clients. What do they say? What do they want to hear from you? What is valuable to them?
Not basing the frequency of your marketing on the preferences of non-buyers may seem like obvious advice, but it’s often overlooked. Someone criticizes a marketing piece you put out, and it causes you to second guess yourself. Someone tells you you’re contacting them too much, and you extrapolate that to apply it to the entire market. It’s an easy mistake to make, but think first, before you react. If you’re adding value to people’s lives in your communications, then keep communicating.
If you’re already a Total Market Domination client, be sure to review our Module 4 lessons on adding value to your communications. If you’re not, then you should definitely join us. Give us a call, toll-free at 1-800-494-2721 or check out my web presentation Programming Clients to Choose You. You can access it now at topsecrets.com/choose.
If you’re tired of flat or declining sales and losing business to your competitors, be sure to check out my latest web presentation entitled Programming Clients to Choose You. Who are your very best prospects currently programmed to buy from? Is it you? Or someone else? If you want it to be you, visit topsecrets.com/choose and register for the free presentation now. That’s topsecrets.com/choose.
Whenever you’re ready… here are the five primary ways we help promotional product distributors:
- Just Getting Started? If you (or someone on your team) is just getting started in promotional products sales, learn how we can help.
- Need Clients Now? If you’re already grounded in the essentials of promotional product sales and just need to get clients now, click here.
- Want EQP/Preferential Pricing? Are you an established industry veteran doing a significant volume of sales? If so, click here to get End Quantity Pricing from many of the top supplier lines in the promo industry.
- Time to Hire Salespeople? If you want to grow your promo sales by hiring others, click here.
- Ready to Dominate Your Market? If you’re serious about creating top-of-mind-awareness with the very best prospects in your market, schedule a one-on-one Strategy Session here.