One Day Sales Seminar
How to Follow Up Effectively

by Michael Hellerman

How to Follow Up Effectively

“Hi, just touching base…”


How many times have you heard that before? More importantly, how many times have you said it? It’s one of those habitual phrases used by all salespeople when following up with potential customers they are trying to close. But to follow-up effectively, you need a strategy and a coordinated approach – baseball metaphors won’t cut it.


You need to be more like a football quarterback. The coaching team will have given him plays to run, plus he has his own instincts and analysis to rely on as he watches the defensive formations line up and play out on the field. As a result he uses many different options through each game to achieve the desired objective.


You have to do the same when following up sales leads – you have to use various, structured strategies to achieve the highest possible levels of success.


Get More Out of Each Lead


The easiest option as a salesperson is to focus on the high-probability sales. That is understandable given the fact that all sale people want to close more sales in shorter periods of time. But you should pursue all warm leads as highly lucrative sales that can come when you least expect it. The trick is working out how to follow up with warm leads in a way that doesn’t take away from time you can spend following up on hot leads.


Communication is the key.


Communication: Keeping in Touch


Salespeople can do some of this, while the marketing department of your organization can get involved as well. Either way all leads and potential customers need regular and varied communication.


Both of these things are as important as the other – you need to contact customers often. And you need to use different methods of communication.


Remember that customers buy when they are ready to buy. They don’t work on your timescales. So you’ll need to stay at the forefront of their minds at all times. And you can do that through regular communication. This includes:


  • Telephone
  • Face-to-face
  • Personal emails
  • Newsletter emails
  • Printed mail
  • Videos
  • Seminars
  • Events


You never know which one of these communications will hit the customer at just the right time.


Offer Value


But don’t just send any old information in these communications. And don’t use them to simply try to close the deal. You need to use these contacts with potential clients to offer them real value. This will help to build your rapport, and it will help to increase trust.


This means in generic communications, offer potential clients information or advice that helps them in their role, or helps their business. This could be a tutorial, networking opportunity, or the release of new industry information.


The same applies to your personal contacts, whether that is by phone, email or in person. Don’t talk about the sale every time you are in contact with your potential customer. Instead, try to come up with ideas and ways to keep in contact with them that do not involve you asking for a decision, or using the horrible phrase “just touching base.”


Keep Records


Finally, there is no point doing any of this if you do not keep accurate records of when you reached out to a potential customer, the method used, and the result of the contact. By keeping records you will be able to track your progress and learn from the methods that work with particular clients, and those that don’t.


The final piece to a successful follow-up strategy is structuring your approach. Fewer leads will fall through the cracks. And you’ll close sales quicker and more efficiently.

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