You’ve just had a great meeting with a prospect. There’s no doubt in your mind they’re going to buy your service. Then you follow up and… nothing. You assume the prospect is no longer interested and it’s time to move on.
Don’t let that common assumption about following up cause you to lose sales. Just because a prospect hasn’t returned your call or e-mail doesn’t mean they aren’t interested. There are many reasons why prospects don’t respond and many strategies for following up with them.
Don’t let the lack of response keep your from reaching out again. Consider these questions to determine which follow-up strategies work best for your prospects.
Do they need a Dear John email?
Some companies send a “Dear John” email to unresponsive prospects. This type of email helps you determine if your prospects simply aren’t interested, or if there’s a different reason they’re not responding. Here’s an example:
You looked at our solution a few months ago. I’ve been reaching out ever since we talked, and I feel like I have been pestering you. I wanted to send one last email to let you know that I’m here to help, and if you want to do business with me, please let me know.
If there is something you feel is an obstacle to doing business with me, I’d honestly love to hear it.
Do they perceive your solution as additional work?
People generally avoid extra work. If prospects have the impression that signing up for your solution means more work for them, they will procrastinate.
Let’s look at an example. If I sell payroll services to a business owner, he’ll realize he needs to compile all of his payroll and human resources information to make the switch. He perceives my service as added work for him, even if it saves him money.
I need to figure out a way alleviate the perception of additional work. If my payroll solution can save him $1,000 a month, then it’s worth the 8 hours he’ll spend compiling the information.
I might phrase my email this way:
Many customers thought switching to my payroll service would be a lot of additional work. If you call the 3 referrals I provided, you will see that it only took them an hour or two of their time. They all saved money and are very happy with the solution. I really feel that you are going to get a similar return on your time. Can we get together next Tuesday at 2:00 to discuss it further?
What’s the best channel for follow-up?
I like using multiple channels in my sales follow-up strategies. For example, I might send an email telling a prospect I’ll be in the area to see another client at 2:00, and I’ll stop by after. I like this strategy because it requires the prospect to respond and take action.
Following up by text message is also great. I’ve said in my previous posts that 95% of all text messages are read in the first 5 minutes. With a text follow-up, you are going to be seen.
I also love following up face-to-face. I can’t tell you how many times a salesperson has walked out of a follow-up meeting with a check in his hand. It’s easy to ignore an e-mail, but much harder to ignore someone standing in front of you.
According to Yesware, “Follow-up emails are worth the effort. You have a 21% chance of getting a reply to your second email if the first goes unanswered.” Combining email with other channels like phone calls, face-to-face meetings, and text messages increases your odds of turning a procrastinator into a customer.