I’m going to share two stats with you. According to a HubSpot report:
1. 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after a meeting
2. 44% of salespeople give up after 1 follow-up
The message here is pretty clear — if most sales take multiple follow-ups, but most of us give up after only one, we’re leaving business on the table. You might be looking at these numbers and thinking, “Well, my business takes less than 5 follow-ups to bring a prospect to a conclusion, and I always send at least 2 follow-ups.” That’s great, but I urge you not to let that hamper the powerful message of these stats: Most of us give up too soon.
The entrepreneurs I work with share a common frustration: They can’t understand why, after having a great meeting with a prospective client where he has shown interest in working together, he suddenly falls off the map. Unfortunately, I see that this common pattern takes a toll on my clients — not just financially, but also psychologically and emotionally. They start to think, “What did I do wrong?” or “I’m not good enough.”
Let me assure you: When a client goes dark, most of the time it has absolutely nothing to do with you. It has to do with his personal life or what’s happening at his company, budget constraints, timing, or fear of commitment (if he engages your services, he has to follow through!). Frankly, especially if you’re selling to a corporate client, he’s just too busy — and he’s relying on your expert follow up to remind him to buy!
So, what’s the remedy? A new mindset — one where we stop taking the back-and-forth of the sales process so personally. One where we embody the confidence we have in our mission and work, and forge ahead, engaging prospective clients with graceful detachment and ease.
And here’s the good news — since so few people follow up properly, you’ll look like a superstar when you do! Don’t forget, following up consistently and thoughtfully will build confidence in your prospect.
Your Challenge This Week:
Look back through your contacts. Identify potential clients that you gave up on after 1-2 follow-ups and reach back out. Track these follow-ups and see what happens (and, if you don’t hear back, set a reminder to follow up again in a couple weeks).
You might be wondering, “What should I say to a hot or warm lead that’s gone cold?” Great question. First, let me say that if you can get a potential client on the phone, do it. That said, I know email is the preferred method of communication by many clients. Years ago, I was taught a follow-up formula from my sales manager:
A.) Start off with a reminder of who you are and your history together.
B.) State why you’re reaching out and make it relevant to today. (Did you see a news item that reminded you of them? Have you developed a new offering that speaks directly to their stated pain point?)
C.) Clearly state what you want them to do. (Reconnect over coffee and continue the discussion about working together; set up a call to go over the past proposal and make adjustments; etc. — as long as it clearly asks for the next step you desire.)
Keep it short, sweet and to the point — do not over-explain your lag in following up, and do not get into the details of your offerings. Your main objective is to reconnect in a powerful way (not over email)!