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Follow-Ups: Sales Techniques for an Effective Follow-Up

Cirrus Insight. Salesman on phone.

The process of selling generally doesn't end when you leave the meeting room or end your first cold call. In fact, for most salespeople, that's when the real work begins. You've now got to follow up with your prospect until you get the answer you're looking for.

There are several ways and timelines to use when following up, but the key is not to be too aggressive. You also don't want to allow too much time to pass. So how do you find that sweet spot? How do you effectively follow up with a prospect without seeming pushy or giving them too much time to forget about you?

You start by recognizing your customer's pain points.

What's their timeline like? Do they need to speak to other decision-makers? Was the budget approved? Once you have a good understanding of where they're at in their buying process, you can start to tailor your follow-ups accordingly

We know this may seem overwhelming, but that's why we've put together a list of some of the best and most effective follow-up techniques to help you get the sale across the finish line.

The importance of follow-ups

Follow-ups are a critical part of the sales process, yet so many salespeople and businesses fail to do it effectively. Research shows that 80% of sales require an average of five follow-ups to close the deal. However, 44% of salespeople follow up with customers only once before giving up on the sale.

This is a huge missed opportunity because, without a proper follow-up strategy in place, you're leaving money on the table.

Following up with prospects helps to:

Build relationships with potential clients

Nowadays, customers are bombarded with marketing messages and sales pitches left, right, and center. To stand out, you need to build a relationship with your prospects.

Let them know that you understand their needs and that you care about them on a deeper level than just a quick sell. For example, if you have many customers in a different country, learning basic phrases in that language shows you're committed to building that relationship.

Cirrus Insight. Salesman works with client at desk, pointing at laptop.

Nurture your leads

By staying in touch and continuing to provide valuable information (such as helpful blog posts, guides, or even just industry news), you'll keep your business top-of-mind so that when they are finally ready to buy, they'll think of you first.

Get feedback from customers

One of the most annoying things about sales is the feeling that you're constantly selling into a vacuum. You put in all this work but have no idea if anything you're doing is actually working.

Following up with your customers gives you an opportunity to get feedback on your products or services and your sales process. This feedback can be invaluable in helping you close more deals and improve your business.

Upsell or cross-sell to current customers

Once you've closed a deal, your work isn't done yet. If you continue to nurture your relationship with your customer and provide them with valuable information and service, you'll be in a good position to upsell or cross-sell to them in the future.

For example, if you sell software, you could offer additional features or upgrades down the line. If you're a consultant, you could offer different services as your customer's needs change.

Upselling and cross-selling help to increase customer lifetime value, which is essential for any business that wants to grow and scale.

keep-in-touch-with-customers

The best sales techniques to use for an effective follow-up

Now let's look at some of the best techniques you can use to ensure your follow-up is effective.

1. Use a personal approach

When following up with your prospects, it's important to use a personal approach. This is one of the most important sales tips to remember. Using a personal approach means customizing your message to the specific person you're speaking to rather than using a generic template. Your goal should be to sound like a human being, not a robot. The best way to do this is to use natural language and avoid jargon. Write as if you're speaking to a friend.

2. Keep it short and sweet

When you're writing your follow-up message, be sure to keep it short and sweet. Get to the point quickly and be concise in your language. Avoid using filler words or going off tangents - people can read between the lines and know when you're "beating around the bush."

3. Subject lines matter

With so much competition for attention in people's inboxes, you must ensure your email stands out. It all starts with the subject line.

Your subject line should be clear, concise, and to the point, just like the message itself. It should give the reader a good idea of what the email is about without being too long or vague.

4. Be prepared for objections

It doesn't matter how great your product or service is; there will always be someone who isn't interested. The best way to handle objections is to be upfront about them. Address them head-on in your follow-up message and provide solutions. For example, if someone says they don't have the budget for your product, you could offer financing options or a payment plan.

Cirrus Insight. Man types on laptop with phone next to him.

5. Don't be afraid to follow up multiple times

One of the biggest mistakes salespeople make is giving up too soon. Just because someone doesn't respond to your first email doesn't mean they're not interested. It's important to follow up multiple times before giving up. The general rule of thumb is to follow up at least three times, but you may need to follow up more (or less) depending on the situation.

6. Always end with a call to action

Your follow-up message should always end with a call to action - what you want the prospect to do after reading your email. Your call to action could be as simple as setting up a meeting or phone call. Or it could be asking them to fill out a form or take a survey.

7. Know when to stop

This may seem like it's going against what we previously suggested on tip number five, but there's a fine line between being persistent and being a pest. It's important to know when to stop following up with a prospect as well.

There are a few ways to tell if you should stop following up. For example, one way is to check to see if they've unsubscribed from your emails or if they've started marking your messages as spam. If so, that is a pretty clear sign that they're not interested in what you have to say.

Final thoughts

Following up with prospects can be a tough balancing act, but if you use these tips, you'll be well on your way to becoming a master of follow-up. Just remember to be persistent yet polite, helpful, not pushy, and always keep the customer's best interests in mind.

Shanice Jones

Shanice is a professional B2B copywriter based in Chicago. Having helped over 20 startups in building their content strategies, she's got a great experience in technical copywriting and creating effective content plans.

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