Before I even get into the best way to follow-up with a prospect, I need to be firm about one thing: never start what you can’t finish! Thinking you can make a couple prospecting calls and that’s all it will take is foolish. Similarly, thinking you’ll fill your pipeline by making a bunch of calls one day but knowing you’ll never be able to follow up. Let me say it again: don’t start what you can’t finish!
The best way to follow-up with a prospect is repetition. That’s what it takes! It’s no different than Nike or Apple and the amount of advertisements they run, because they know it will take multiple ads to get you to buy. My gut tells me that what you’re selling and who you are aren’t as famous as Nike or Apple, so that means you need to be doing the same and even more.
First, let me remind you that your prospect isn’t thinking about you, so you have to be the one to lead. Also, don’t forget that when you lead, you’ll most likely be interrupting them – that’s a good thing! Your prospect will not appreciate you and how you can help them until they get to know you and what you’re selling. Interrupting is part of the prospecting process – don’t think you can avoid it. In sales, failing to interrupt is failing to succeed.
Second, always remember that your prospect could care less about you. They only care about their issue, their problems, and their needs. The primary purpose of each of your calls to them is to be 100% focused on whoever you’re reaching out to. Every single one of your comments, questions and statements has to be all about them. If you think you need to send them a link to your website, stop that thinking. Honestly, it’s a waste, because your prospect doesn’t care! And if they do care, they can always do a Google search to find you and your company. Trust me, it’s not that hard.
The most effective way to connect with a prospect is by using whatever they may have shared with you in an earlier conversation in your followup. Without a doubt, this is the most effective approach as it tells the prospect you remember and you value them and what they say. Gee, that’s a novel thought for a salesperson! It’s quite simple. All you need to do is take a comment the prospect shared with you in an email or a phone call and follow up with them. Just restate the comment and ask them to explain more. You could also share another example or add your own comments to what they said, maybe sharing something you have in common. The approach is especially good when you have a prospect not responding to your calls after your first call. Grab their attention more by making the subject line read; “You mentioned…” Make the first sentence read; “When we talked last you said, ………………..” Excuse me, but who isn’t going to open and read an email that is 100% completely about what they said?
Using what the prospect shared is an approach I’ve been using for years and in various stages of the prospecting process. I’ve used it early on, and I’ve used it deep into the selling process. It fits no matter what. The important piece is for you to use what they shared and keep adding more value to it.
Following up and adding value is important and it’s why I believe the old sales technique, “ABC” (Always be Closing) is dead! That may have worked for Alec Baldwin in the movie, Glengarry Glen Ross but it does not work today. “ABC” has been replaced with “ABV,” known as “Always Bring Value.” Each communication must bring new value, so this means you never repeat anything. If the customer won’t respond to your emails or your voicemails or your carrier pigeon messages, it’s because they could care less about what you have to say. Walk into any restaurant and you’ll see they offer many different many items – even In-N-Out has variety! Why do you think they do this? It’s simple: they know that not everyone likes the same thing. This means that you better provide variety. You don’t know what your prospect will respond to, because of exactly that, they’re a prospect!
A big trap some salespeople fall into is relying on email as their primary follow-up tool. This is dangerous. I don’t know about you, but won’t ever allow a plumber in my house with only one tool. I want the plumber to have a big truck with a lot of tools. It’s the same for you, so use multiple approaches. Just because you like email or social media does not mean your prospect does. You have to reach them where they live. Yes, this means using minimally the telephone, voicemail, and email. It may also include instant messaging, postal service, social media or any number of other methods depending on who you’re reaching out to. It’s your job to reach the prospect, not the prospect’s job to reach you!
Finally, don’t give up! Just because a prospect isn’t responding does not mean they’re not interested. How do you know? You don’t, until you’ve had the opportunity to engage with them at length. Silence is only a moment in time. Silence is broken when you provide a reason for the prospect to break the silence.
If you’re asking me what’s the magic number of contacts and the frequency with which to reach out? I will tell you bluntly- there is no magic number, but you should start by taking the number of times you do reach out right now and minimally double it. Don’t think you’re done until you reach at least 20 contacts. Remember, if you can help the prospect, it’s your obligation to reach out to them. Failing to do so is considered sales malpractice in my book!
Jump onto my website and download my free ebooks on prospecting. Here’s the link! Don’t forget to watch the video and subscribe to my YouTube channel. It’s all there to help you be successful! I know I can help you so yes, it’s my duty to continue to interrupt you.
Copyright 2019, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Result