Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. It’s a word most of us hear all the time, and something we are encouraged to do with prospective clients. But what does it mean? How often do we do it? And what does that look like?
I’m willing to bet most people will at least send a follow-up email after speaking with a prospective client. You know, one of those “It was a pleasure to meet you,” emails. And many people will send another “just touching base,” or “just following up” email a week or so later. Unfortunately, if they don’t receive a response to the first two follow-up emails, a lot of people stop the follow up process because they think 1) the prospect isn’t interested, and 2) they are bothering the prospect if they continue to follow up.
That was me for a long time. However, my business coach (a networking and sales coach to be exact) says otherwise. And you know what? She’s right!
Not only did I have the frequency wrong, but also the methods. How do I know this? Because I did what she said and it worked!
Most of us have heard the statement that takes at least 7 “touches” before you really pop up on someone’s radar. That’s often true when you are simply trying to get someone’s attention. For follow-up, however, it can take more! It can actually take between 6-12 follow-up attempts to get business. Not 1, not 2, not 3 … but between 6-12!
According to Tish Times, Networking Strategist (and my coach 🙂 ),
43% stop after the 1st call
68% stop after the 2nd
80% after the 3rd
Most people don’t make it past the 3rd try!
6-12 calls to get business!
Yes she says “calls.” But don’t freak, you can substitute email or contact in many cases, but calls are part of the equation. Like them or not (I don’t!), picking up the phone and calling your prospects in the process works. You can read more about her process in her book, Networking is NOT a One Night Stand. It’s a great book. Not too long, an easy read, and tons of actionable content.A follow-up system is not following up once or twice and then giving up!Click To Tweet
Once I put an actual follow-up system in place, got over my fear of bothering people, and added picking up the phone and calling them to the process, I’ve booked more free consults to see if we’re a good fit, and closed more sales with more prospects. Imagine that! And … it has often been after a phone call, and after 8 or more follow-up attempts. Of course, the emails and calls are spaced out so you’re not emailing or calling every day. That would be harassment. But I’ve continued to keep them on a follow-up schedule until they either say I’m no longer interested, or I know in my gut it’s time to stop. Sometimes it’s just a reminder on my calendar to follow up with them in 12 months to see how things are going and if anything has changed. Sometimes it has and the time is right!
If you’re not seeing the results you’d like closing sales or gaining new clients, it might not be that they don’t really want your services or products. It might be that they don’t know enough about you or your services because they haven’t booked a discovery call or consultation with you yet. They may not have done that because they’re too busy to respond, they’ve been on vacation, they’ve been sick, they’ve been traveling … you name it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I’m so glad you didn’t give up on me and were persistent!”
So make sure you have a consistent follow-up system in place, and keep on following up. It works!
Do you have an effective follow-up system in place? Leave a comment and let me know what works best for you!
Also published on Medium.