If you have a good system in place for following up with your prospects, you’re already ahead of most salespeople. According to Hubspot and the LinkedIn Sales Solutions blog, 80 percent of sales occur during or after the fifth point of contact between seller and buyer. Unfortunately, Hubspot finds that 44 percent of salespeople give up after just one contact attempt. Only 10 percent of sellers make three or more contacts, according to LinkedIn.
Clearly, lack of a good follow-up system can lose a lot of revenue. Since buyers do business with those they trust, building familiarity through simple repetition can result in a relationship and, ultimately, future sales. But even if a sale never occurs, you still cheat yourself by not following up. To get in touch with a prospect is to train yourself. Thus, following up is beneficial regardless of outcome.
What are the logistics of following up?
It’s important to follow up with your prospects at least five times in order to see significant returns. The maximal benefit comes from using as many channels as possible, but since it may not always be appropriate to text or send fruit baskets to your prospects, phone and email suffice. The typical recommendation is three calls and two emails – with an email coming after both the first and third phone calls. Because busy prospects aren’t always at their desks, you may also want to leave messages so they know you called.
By the same token, you don’t want to come off as overbearing or, worse, annoying. One way to stay on your prospect’s positive side is to space your follow-ups a few days apart to give them some breathing room. Not only does this keep you from seeming intrusive, but it also stretches out the period of time where the prospect can expect to hear from you.
What to do once you’re on the phone
Of course, you may as well not follow up at all if you don’t know what you want to get out of it. Determine your goals for contacting a prospect – and you should have more than one so more calls are successful. Say, for instance, your primary goal is to set an appointment. If that doesn’t work out, having a secondary goal – such as signing your prospect up for a newsletter, sending an email, or scheduling a firm time for another follow-up – comes in handy for keeping you on their radar.
Relatedly, you should understand the value of your product or service to your prospect, because that’s what you need to communicate to them. It’s important to be able to explain what your product or service is and what its features are. More importantly, how can it help? This is where sellers have the opportunity to be educators, particularly if the prospect doesn’t see a need for the product or service at first. This approach builds trust, and we do business with those we trust.
How do you build trust with your prospects? Let us know in the comments.