Sales Prospecting: The Art of Following Up

prospecting and communicationFinding new customers is the bane of most salespeople, yet too many times, the reason it is so difficult is salespeople give up too easily.

Really, I should say it’s not that salespeople give up too easily — it’s that they just don’t follow-up.

For some reason, too many salespeople believe if they make one phone call, send one email or mail one letter to a prospect, then that is all it takes.

There is this magical belief that the single communication will be enough to open doors.

People who believe that are the same people who believe the tooth fairy is real and there is a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow.

Go ahead and say you’re not that type of salesperson, but don’t look too closely into a mirror. You just might see yourself doing exactly what I’ve described: Relying on one outreach to a prospect to be enough.

Prospecting requires following up again and again.

It’s not a one-inning baseball game.  Is there a magic number?  No. It varies by industry, customer profile and a number of other criteria. But the number I tell people to start with is six.

I believe six contacts to a prospect is the minimum to determine if they might become a customer.

The six contacts should be staggered over a period of time, such as one to two months, and should consist of different delivery forms. Each delivery should focus on a different need.

Read what I wrote in the previous paragraph.

Do you measure up?  Most people don’t.  Let’s not forget, I said six should be the “minimum.” I’ve had prospecting campaigns run as long as 30 contacts for some industries.

The key is to have a plan and to follow-through.

The worst thing you can do is to spray your prospects once and then never let them hear from you again.  That is not sales prospecting. That is spraying and praying and sorry, but it’s not going to work.

Copyright 2013, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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2 thoughts on “Sales Prospecting: The Art of Following Up”

  1. Some studies show follow-up success can take up to 21 contacts – a call, email, newsletter, seminar. That’s because so much is vying for our attention today.

  2. I hate to disagree. I believe in one-call closing. Now I may call a prospect several times before I get them on the phone, but once I have their attention, I should close the deal. Deals don’t close for only a few reasons, one, the customer does not need or want your product or service. Two. the customer honestly BELIEVES that they don’t want or need your product or service. Three, The customer wants or needs your product, but not right now. Or Four, The customer does need your services, but has someone internally or externally that they have a good working relationship with that already provides it.

    Only number one is a true obstacle, the rest are objections, and with training, product knowledge, and closing skills, you will get the sale, THE FIRST TIME! Obviously, the approach is different for each of the situations, but only the first objection is un-closable. BTW one is almost always not real.

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