How many times have you had someone call or meet you (they are interested in your product or service), you follow up, and they never get back to you? The initial call goes great but all your follow up initiatives get neglected. And then you wonder if you are doing something wrong. Every sales or business professional has had this experience. How you respond to an initial call (email or phone) can be important in making or breaking a relationship, or closing business with a potential client.
As a business professional you think you have a great lead and begin the effort into securing a prospects interest further. But they aren’t responding to your follow up. What gives? Let’s touch base on what you can possibly do to better your chances of a response when using email (we will focus on email here but there are other ways to follow up: phone call, postal letter, third party referral etc.).
First of all, (according to www.therefferalsquirrel.com), 80% of sales are made on the 5th through the 12th time you contact the prospect so keep that in mind. Yet, at this point, you have to figure out how to re-engage your prospect when they are not responding, which typically involves sending the dreaded “Just wanted to follow-up about…” email. This is where your outreach could make or break your relationship (or potential sale) with the client, so it’s kind of important to avoid some basic mistakes with your follow-up. Prospecting for new business can be tricky, so how can you reach out without scaring them away (using email)? Let me offer a few tips that could help.
Provide background information – No matter what you’re selling or what field you’re in, it’s safe to assume your prospective client is busy. This means your client will be distracted, and may not remember who you are or what you discussed previously (why it’s probably always good to follow up within hours of your visit or call). And, they are probably being wooed by other sales reps, or your business deal is low priority on their “to-do” list. If it’s your first follow up email, it is a good idea to provide some background information about who you are and what you discussed previously so you don’t lose their attention. And do it quickly.
Add value (or make the “next step” easy) – Your prospective customer and/or client wants to feel like you have their best interest in mind so try to be creative in the way your solution adds value for them. One good way to do this is to share resources and/or information that is relevant to their industry (and/or business) by using LinkedIn or Google alerts; or you might let them know a new way they could use your product and service to further their business goals.
Make it easy for your client to say yes by helping them with the sales process. For instance, maybe they are struggling with how to pitch your product or service to their superiors—so, offer to help do it for them. Or, maybe they struggle with how you compare to your competition; you could do a cost and benefit analysis comparison chart for them. Think outside the box and do something that will set you apart from others and provide that “value add” that most others won’t.
Include a ‘benefit’ or ‘why’ statement – As is the case in every pitch you make, it’s important to reiterate your benefit statement(s). Why does your client need your product or service and the benefits it provides to them? More specifically, why are you the best option, even if your price is higher? What is important is NOT to make a sales pitch per se, but to educate the prospect on the benefits that your product or service provides; and the possible return for that investment. Make it personal whenever possible, and also keep it short and fairly simple while being confident that you have the best solution.
Not including a call to action – One of the biggest mistakes for any follow-up email is not including a strong call-to-action. Leaving the email open-ended with phrases like “let me know what you think” or “keep in touch” aren’t a strong enough incentive for your client to respond. You’re more likely to get a response when you ask a pointed question like, “What day and time works best for you next week to discuss this further?” or, “What would be the best time for us to meet to discuss further?” Good quality and timely follow up is a must.
Hopefully the above tips can help you with your call to action when following up with potential prospects, and getting better responses and therefore better results. If you would like to learn more about how to implement strategies to further grow your revenue and profits, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (504) 598-5243. Here is to your success…