The Right Follow Ups Make All The Difference
After working your butt off to capture a prospect’s interest, what’s the most crucial ingredient for closing that sweet sale? That’s right, the follow up research shows that 80% of sales require up to 5 follow ups to close the deal. Guess what?44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up. Which means by failing to follow up, a whopping 44% of sales reps are killing their chances of closing.
So why are so many reps failing to follow up? Pinpointing the reason why is hard, but the overbearing fear of coming across as “salesy” can shoulder the blame. Most reps despise coming across as a typical pushy salesman, desperately persisting in trying to close despite a prospects dwindling interest. We’ve all experienced it, and we all hate it.
You’ve probably experienced this the last time you visited a car dealership. You’re after specific car, but the salesman insists the advanced/higher priced model is better for you. And it’s extremely annoying, because you know he is trying to sell you something you don’t even want! Most of us reps probably dread coming across like that, and that leads to weaker/less frequent follow ups – resulting in super low closing rates. So how can you persistently follow up without being pushy and making prospects feel like stuffing the phone down your throat?
Pick Your Strongest Selling Tool
Should you shoot over an email, or go the direct route and pick up the phone?
This depends on what you’re most comfortable with and what’s proven to work for your company. Here are some pros and cons for both to help you decide:
Email Follow Ups
Following up via email generally feels much less intimidating than picking up the phone. It allows you to send accessible attachments, you can utilize more visuals, and your prospect can quickly forward/archive your message for future reference.
However, as a glance at your own inbox will prove, email follow ups are also easier to ignore. This is probably their biggest downfall. I mean, unless there’s a magnetic subject line, do you really read emails from unidentified sources?
Neither do most of your prospects…
They’re busy, and their inboxes are more cramped than a student’s brain the night before an exam. Following up via email will obviously require multiple emails and different tactics to cut through the clutter.
Phone Follow Ups
Calls are more human in nature and help quickly establish rapport. And they allow you to gauge the interest level of your prospect through the tone of their voice, unlike email. Calling is also higher reward, reps with solid calling skills will be able to hold interest, accelerate the sales process, and connect quicker.
However, the rewards of phone follow ups come attached with a price – higher risk alongside higher reward. If you ring a prospect and they don’t pick up, your message is gone unless you leave a voicemail. Most salespeople don’t do this, because who listens to sales voicemails? You shouldn’t expect a call back from leads you leave a voicemail with.
Combine Phone and Email Follow Ups With The BASHO Sequence
Combine both sales tools for the best follow up results. A popular method for combining is Jeff Hoffman’s BASHO sequence – A series of four voicemail/email touches, starting with introductory, persistent contact, and then, if the prospect doesn’t respond after the first 3 or 4 attempts, a break-up.
BASHO emails aim to slowly grab attention through email and funnel into a scheduled phone conversation/meeting. Basho sequences do this by focusing on two major things:
- Showing a prospect you know them
- Explaining why you’re reaching out, and how you solve a prospect’s problems
Here’s an example:
“Subject: Your new product launch
You recently launched a new product CRMware that aims, in your words, to help large marketing departments “solve the day to day friction of adding customer data to a centralized system.”
Every year we help other CRM vendors target the marketing departments of the Fortune 1000, ultimately leading to an average revenue growth of 20%. What is the best way to get 30 minutes on your calendar to discuss?”
Filter Your Leads
Ever got a product recommendation message from Amazon similar to something you recently purchased?
Unlike most recommendations, this one probably didn’t result in you immediately rejecting the idea. You may have even persuaded to buy. The reason why is simple:
It was relevant to you. The relevancy makes you a warmer lead who’s more susceptible to buying. Now speaking of leads, to successfully balance your follow ups you can’t go wrong by following Amazon and filtering your leads by interest…
- Hot Leads– ready now, high chance of buying
- Warm Leads– will be ready soon, need a little nudging
- Cold Leads– can be bumped up to warm, or may never be interested
Filtering leads shows how interested someone is in your product/service, which helps you decide on how, when, and the frequency of the follow up.
For example, “hot leads” are the easiest type to spot; they’re eager to close the deal and quickly begin using your products or services. They may take fewer follow ups to close and will be more open to hearing about your product and cross-sells/upsells. On the other hand, cold leads may take more emails and a softer selling approach to nudge them into “warm” status.
Filter your leads to the best of your ability, but pay equal attention to all types of leads. The worst thing you can do is let potential warm/cold leads slip through your grasp by cherry-picking hot leads.
Instead of doing the tedious, follow-up grunt work, sales reps usually wait for a new batch of leads to come in. In the meantime, the warm leads from the last batch get cold, and they’re soon forgotten.”– Dan Kennedy
Hot or Warm Leads Not Responding? “Shock” Them Into Paying Attention
In our recent article on sharpening your B2B cold calling skills, we talked about attracting attention with direct mail. We discussed combining physical mail with your emails/phone follow ups to attract more attention from prospects, while setting yourself apart from the hordes of other reps.
Ash Ambirge, founder of The Middle Finger Project, had trouble securing leads for a company she worked for. Typical cold emails weren’t working; she was constantly knocked by rejection. Instead of giving up on all her leads, she took a weird but creative approach to closing deals.
Ash marched over to a roofing supply company and grabbed 30 roofing shingles. She then mailed a roofing shingle to each of the 30 home building companies she wanted to work with; with the words “My Company + Your Company = sales through the roof.”
An insane response rate of over 90%, and deals with most of her leads. If you want to convert high quality prospects into customers, try something original! If a promising prospect isn’t giving you time of day, jolt them into paying attention just like Ash did. Combine eye-catching direct mail pieces with your emails and phone follow ups and you’ll be hard to ignore.
Follow Up Faster
“The odds of making a successful contact with a lead are 100 times greater when a contact attempt occurs within 5 minutes, compared to 30 minutes after the lead was submitted. Similarly, the odds of the lead entering the sales process, or becoming qualified, are 21 times greater when contacted within 5 minutes versus 30 minutes after the lead was submitted.”
Sometimes a rapid response is all it takes to secure the deal. Being the first answer to a problem can be a great sales advantage. An astonishing 35 to 50 percent of sales go to the person that makes first contact.
Becoming the first to contact isn’t exactly easy. It boils down to luck, timing, prospect knowledge, and your sales tools. Speaking of sales tools, Fileboard is great for tweaking your timing to perfection. Fileboard let’s you see when prospect’s open an email, view a slide/ document and much more. In simple terms, this means you can precisely follow up with prospects and talk to them, while they’re literally thinking about you.
Counter Direct Follow Ups With Softer Social Selling
Blasting out emails and constantly calling isn’t the only way to go. People are barraged with sales messages on those channels so often that they’ve become desensitized.
As a result, they’re automatically inclined to say “no”. Going the inbound/social follow up route is a perfect way to counterbalance the calls and emails. This way, leads knock on your “door” instead of you having to knock on theirs. Prospects are also more willing to talk – because you’re on a social platform.
Take a look at Tweetdeck for example, it keeps track of searches, lists, topics, and sends you notifications at the mention of certain topics, events, or hashtags. This has multiple benefits:
- Validating the fact that the prospect has an interest/reason for using your product/service.
- Bringing the lead to you. You just have to follow up!
- Allowing you to contact them immediately. As we know, the quicker you reach out, the higher the chance of the sale.
Not a Twitter fan? Try Rapportive.
Rapportive is a Gmail browser extension that brings all your contacts’ social media profiles to your inbox. Letting you automatically view a contact’s profile photo, job and organization. Links to their, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are also available for quick viewing and interacting.
The best thing is you can tactically follow up with multiple leads without leaving your email inbox.
“Follow” These Follow Up Content Commandments
Perfect follow ups follow the same rules as baking. Sure, you can leave something out here and there, but if your follow ups fail to deliver the key elements, your chances of success are slim. For sales follow ups, these 3 steps are critical:
Show that you know
Like the BASHO sequence mentioned earlier, show your prospect that you know a little about them. The more you can communicate you understand about them, the better. A quick glance at their LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook should be all you need.
The key to making people want to buy what you’re selling? Show them how it solves their problems. Prospect’s don’t care about you or your company. They do care what you can do for them. Tell them how your product/service will benefit them and you’ll nurture more interest.
Repeat, switch, repeat
70% of sales emails stop after the first attempt and only 19% go on to follow up a second time. Let’s be real, leads aren’t always going to be sold on the first or second follow up. Repetition is key. But this doesn’t mean spamming the same email/voicemail as you did before.
Switch things up. Revisit their social profiles and open with more relevant information, explain your product from a different angle, or just simply ask about their problems (this sets you up nicely to showcase what you’re selling).
Deploying The Breakup: Your Last Resort
If a prospect hasn’t responded after the 4th or 5th time, consider deploying the break up email. So why send a break up email instead of just moving on?
Break up emails let a prospect know that you tried getting in touch with them, but you’ll stop bothering them since you’re not a good match. The main purpose is to remind a prospect for the last time that you’re reaching out. This will let you know whether to stop following up or not.
Quite often, prospects are busy or forget about your messages and respond on the break up email because they’re actually interested.
Follow Up Like A Pro, And Close Deals Like Sales Superstar With Fileboard
If you’ve made it this far, we know you’re serious about improving your sales performance – more specifically your follow ups. That’s why we’d like you to consider how Fileboard can help you close more deals and release your inner super sales rep…
Fileboard’s elaborate follow up system converts qualified prospects by 300%. Not only does this mean hotter leads that are more likely to convert ; you also focus on what matters – less time chasing leads, and more time selling to them.
Our intelligent sales process tells reps what to do next based on actual customer engagement. With Fileboard, you don’t have to stop and scratch your head when faced with different types of leads. This platform makes productivity soar by calculating the best approach for you and highlighting exactly what you need to do next.
Find out what your prospects are doing. Imagine calling a prospect while they’re reading a case study that you sent them, or calling them up just after they’ve read your email. This would be awesome, right?
Ready to seriously boost your sales performance?