There’s a common saying in sales that goes, “The fortune is in the follow-up.” The reason this is common wisdom is because it’s true. Speaking from my own experience, being consistent with follow-ups have gotten me some major columns with media publications and lucrative business deals.
The problem is people don’t like doing follow-ups. There’s so much resistance to the idea of following up that I sometimes have to ease coaching clients into it because they are so terrified.
While I understand that people are afraid to come off as scammy and pushy in their follow-ups, I’m of the belief that they just need to get over it. Here’s why.
People are busy.
If you’re afraid of coming off as spammy and pushy in your follow-ups, I’m about to explain why that logic doesn’t even make sense.
Do you have any idea how many things are vying for peoples’ attention in their inboxes? A lot. The chances of your email getting lost or forgotten under a massive pile of other emails is pretty high.
Additionally, life happens and people are busy. Not everyone is on top of their email game like you may be. Not only that, but what if they were traveling or got sick? All of these things could lead to someone not responding to you which is why follow ups are so important.
Here is a case and point. I recently got a lucrative writing deal after following up with a prospect for months. It’s not that they didn’t want to respond, it’s that they were up to their eyeballs in other projects and some things took a back seat. I’m pretty sure that the only reason I got the gig, and therefore increased my revenue, is because I was so consistent with following up.
People need to hear from you an average of seven times.
Another reason why follow ups are so important is because people will need to hear from you an average of seven times before they finally decide to purchase something from you.
That’s right. Seven.
That means that sending an email once is not enough. It also means that if they don’t respond the first time it doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t interested. Like I said, maybe they’re just busy. Or, maybe they just haven’t heard from you enough yet which is why you need to remain consistent with follow ups.
You really are leaving money on the table.
I already gave a clear cut example of how it took months of consistently following up with a client to finally land a deal. Had I not done this, I would have lost out on money and the prestige of writing for one of the best finance sites around (which then leads to more money!)
The data doesn’t lie.
Hubpot did an impressive roundup of sales statistics that clearly show why following up is so important. Here are just some of the findings:
- 80% of sales require 5 follow-up phone calls after the meeting. [Source: The Marketing Donut]
- Research shows that 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first. [Source:InsideSales.com]If you follow up with web leads within 5 minutes, you’re 9 times more likely to convert them. [Source: InsideSales.com]
- 63% of people requesting information on your company today will not purchase for at least three months – and 20% will take more than 12 months to buy. [Source: Marketing Donut]
- 50% of leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy. [Source: Gleanster Research]
- 93% of converted leads are contacted by the 6th call attempt [Source: Velocify]
As you can see, follow-ups are a necessary part of the sales process. There is absolutely no way around this fact and the numbers do not lie.
It’s easier than ever to create consistent follow-ups.
With all the tools available at your disposal these days, follow ups don’t need to take a whole lot of time. Here are some of the ways I either automate or delegate follow-ups in my business so that I ensure they are getting done without wasting time.
- Automated email marketing after a sales presentation. This is a part of a sales funnel that was created ahead of time and runs on autopilot.
- Weekly content via my blog that is sent out via email.
- Automated emails after a consultation call that are tailored to the specific needs of the prospect.
- I delegate manual email follow-ups to my virtual assistant.
- Create follow-up templates my virtual assistant can use and tweak depending on the lead.
- Use tools like Boomerang or Streak for Gmail to schedule manual follow-ups in advance.
Like I said, there are tons of ways to make sure your follow ups are getting done. The hardest part is creating the content and getting everything situated in your email marketing system. Once that’s done, it all runs automatically without you having to touch it and it’s still very effective.
My team and I have also taken it a step further by starting to incorporate text via our calendar system. If a lead chooses, they can opt for SMS reminders of meetings. This also means they’ll get SMS follow-ups after the meeting. This is just one of the ways in which technology has made sales easy and effective.
As for phone calls, we don’t really use them for follow-ups simply because my market prefers email and so do I. Experiment with the different options to see what’s most effective.
Consistent follow-ups will put you ahead of the game.
The same Hubspot article I mentioned earlier also found that 44% of sales people give up after one follow up.
This means that if you stay consistent with your follow-ups then you’re already ahead of half the people you may be competing with. You know what that means? The more you follow up, the more you increase your chances of making money.
Once you look at how follow-ups work in a sales funnel and the data to support them, you quickly realize that follow-ups are an important part of making money in your business. Don’t make the mistake of leaving money on the table because you’re too afraid to follow up.