Knowing how to follow-up on sales leads is not just a matter of higher open and conversion rates.
Instead, it is a matter of stability and business success: If leads do not respond to your follow-up, they have no chance of converting into customers. Without any customers, your business is more of a hobby.
Most sales professionals consider themselves lucky if even one lead responds to their follow-up!
Unfortunately, they resultantly struggle to keep their businesses above water.
To help sales pros and CEOs achieve more business success, I'm sharing techniques and methods to follow-up on leads successfully.
Specifically, I am sharing how to up your follow-up game so much that leads will virtually come running to you instead of you chasing them down!
How long will you chase down prospects before realizing you can get them to chase you?
How Most Salespeople Follow-Up With Sales Leads
After making their initial sales call or email, this is how most sales reps follow-up with prospects.
Unfortunately, a majority of their attempts end unsuccessfully.
Contrary to what the salesperson might believe, their unsuccessful follow-up rarely has anything to do with the prospect.
Instead, it has everything to do with their own poor follow-up approach.
Making 1 to 4 Follow-Up Emails or Calls Before Giving Up
First, most salespeople follow-up with leads between 1 and 4 times before giving up.
- A whopping 92% of salespeople give up after making four sales calls
- 44% of salespeople give up after the initial call (AKA, they do not follow-up whatsoever!)
Also, the average sales rep follows-up with a mix of calls, emails, and social media messages.
Moreover, most B2B sales reps throw in the towel after only a handful of tries to connect with customers.
Following-Up Several Days After the Initial Outreach
Second, most sales teams make an initial cold call or email, wait several days, and then follow-up.
Instead of following-up hours or even one day after the initial attempt, they drag out the follow-up timeframe.
Reusing Email Templates Countless Times
Lastly, most sales teams copy and paste the same old follow-up email templates for each prospect.
Additionally, they use the same-old follow-up call and voicemail scripts, time and time again.
To be clear, I do not hate templates; I have several follow-up scripts and email templates in my arsenal.
Templates are excellent for workflow optimization and automation.
However, I am saying that most templates suck, and most salespeople use the same sucky templates countless times. Then, they wonder why they are not getting responses!
The Key Reason Why Most Sales Professional’s Follow-Up Fails
The primary reason why most follow-up attempts fail is that the sales pro's processes and techniques are rooted in fear.
Specifically, their processes and techniques are rooted in fear of coming across as:
Unfortunately, most salespeople forget that you cannot live your life or take action based on fear.
Basing actions on volatile emotions never did anyone good!
If you have a fear-based mindset, you will follow-up based on fear. Following-up based on fear will not do you well!
You Cannot Live Your Life Based on Fear.
Imagine I told you I do not fly on airplanes because I am terrified of crashing.
Because I am afraid to fly, I sacrifice vacations, family time, and business trips.
What would you say to me?
Even though the odds of crashing are close to 1 in 11 million, would you tell me that my fears are justified and I should not fly?
Or, would you suggest I stop letting fear and emotions dictate my life?
Like most people, you would tell me to enjoy life instead of letting fear determine my choices.
That said, most salespeople allow fear to determine the actions they do and do not take.
Similarly to not flying in a plane out of the fear of crashing, most salespeople base their follow-up processes on the fear of how they will come across to prospects.
Specifically, the fear of coming across as ‘too much’.
Despite not having any evidence that prospects will see them as needy, overbearing, or desperate, they allow the thought of it to determine their actions.
Yes, a prospect can answer your call and say, ‘You are annoying! Go away!’, but what are the odds of that happening?
The worst that can probably happen is the prospect ghosts you forever.
How much longer will you live your life based on fear instead of fact?
Again, it is 100% possible a prospect will say you are annoying, but what is the probability of that happening?
Probably close to zero.
First, Try to Prevent Having to Follow-Up
While lead follow-up is a healthy part of the sales process, some methods and techniques help prevent follow-up altogether!
These methods and techniques help you knock your initial outreach attempt out of the park so prospects will answer on the first try.
Not only do these methods help increase initial response rates, but they also help siphon more potential customers into the sales pipeline than ever.
Here is how to knock your initial outreach attempts out of the park to generate immediate responses and prevent follow-up altogether.
Always Starting With Cold Calling
First, your initial outreach attempt should be a cold call instead of an email or social media message.
Cold calling allows you to get in front of prospects in real-time.
While emails and messages can be effective, they do not give you the same opportunity to control the initial conversation.
To prepare for cold call and overall lead generation success, compile phone numbers into your CRM before doing anything else.
Having a Killer Hook
Second, every initial cold call needs a killer hook.
Think of the hook line like the subject line in email marketing: It grabs the prospect’s attention by:
- Providing an opportunity for immediate value
- Igniting curiosity
- Poking at one of their pain points
Without a killer hook, you will instantly lose their attention and perhaps even lose them altogether.
Drop the hook line immediately after introducing yourself on the call for the best results.
Next, make every initial cold call to the decision-maker at your target companies.
The decision-maker is the individual with purchasing decision authority.
While you are not necessarily getting prospects to make purchasing decisions until after the final sales pitch, you still want to get on good terms with the decision-maker ASAP.
The earlier you get on good terms with them, the greater the odds you will close the deal later in the process.
Using Inbound Marketing to Your Advantage
Prospects often want a good idea of who they will be talking to before responding to a cold voicemail.
For example, if you make an initial cold call with a voicemail, the prospect might listen to the voicemail and want to get a better idea of who you are before calling back.
Use inbound marketing campaigns to increase the odds they respond to your voicemail.
Use your company website and personal social media pages to post relevant content for your product/service.
Even better, content like case studies is a great social proof tool to increase response rates.
The key is to use marketing as an opportunity to show prospects who you are and, more importantly, the outcomes you create.
The better the content, the more likely prospects will call you back before you have the time to reach out a second time.
How to Follow-Up Like a Top Sales Pro & Get Prospects Running to You
Most sales professionals' follow-up attempts end unsuccessfully.
If they do end successfully, it does not get to that point without stress and frustration.
Unfortunately, most sales pros are unaware that with simple changes to follow-up methods and techniques, they can get prospects begging for their attention!
Moreover, you can follow-up once or twice and get prospects running into your arms over urgency to speak to you.
Here is how to achieve just that.
Leave a Voicemail and Email After Every Attempt
If a prospect does not answer your initial cold call, the first step of the follow-up process is leaving a voicemail.
Drop a version of your hook line in the voicemail to ignite their curiosity and urgency.
Immediately after leaving the voicemail, send a sales follow-up email.
Similarly to the voicemail, leave a short and sweet message that includes a version of your hook line.
Because most prospects do not sit by their phones all day waiting to answer calls, it is essential to keep email messages in the equation.
Double down on follow-up messages by leaving a voicemail and email immediately after the initial cold phone call.
Start With Phone Calls
The first follow-up attempt should always be a phone call.
Similar to how cold calls are the most effective lead generation strategy, phone calls are the most effective follow-up strategy.
Like cold calls, follow-up calls allow you to talk to prospects in real time.
It is much harder for prospects to ignore you when they have to do it while listening to your voice.
On the flip side, it is easy for prospects to ignore your emails because they are simply ignoring words typed on a screen.
Call at Least Once Per Day
This next point is crucial: You must follow-up at least once everyday.
The first follow-up call should be within 24 hours of the initial outreach attempt.
Every follow-up attempt after the first should occur about every 12 hours.
For example, if you make the initial call at 9 a.m. on Monday, the first follow-up should be no later than 9 a.m. on Tuesday.
If you still do not hear back from the prospect, call them again before 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
If the second attempt ends unsuccessfully, call again on Wednesday morning.
The idea is to get on a strict follow-up schedule because consistency is key!
Here is why most salespeople fail: They make only a few follow-up attempts spread apart several days from one another.
These unsuccessful salespeople should know that 95% of prospects convert to leads after six consistent follow-up attempts!
If they tried a few more times and tried sooner, they would be successful!
Add a Case Study to Your Signature
Most salespeople have an email signature that includes basic contact information and social media links.
What value does a simple email signature have except for making your messages look more professional?
While professionalism is essential, most salespeople could do much more with their email signatures to engage prospects and increase conversion rates.
To do so, I suggest adding a short case study-esque to the bottom of your signature.
All you need is a two to three-sentence quote from a previous customer describing their great experience with you.
These short sentences can be enough to ignite social proof, which increases the odds prospects respond to the message.
Set a Kick-Off Date
Every follow-up message should ignite a sense of urgency.
The more urgency the prospect has, the greater the odds they will respond.
To ignite urgency, set what I like to call a kick-off date.
A kick-off date is a date on which you plan to move forward working with the prospect.
For example, if today is July 1st and you intend on signing the deal by July 15th, tell the prospect that if they want to overcome the pain point hinted in the hook line, they should contact you ASAP to get started on time.
The kick-off date is somewhat arbitrary, but it at least encourages the prospect to connect with you before they lose out on a valuable opportunity.
Keep Things Short and Sweet
If a prospect has to scroll down their phone to read your entire follow-up email message, the message is too long!
You do not need to write a novel to make an impact.
The longer your follow-up message is, the less likely prospects will respond to it.
Long messages create resistance with prospects. The more resistance, the less likely they will respond to it!
Therefore, keep your message as short and sweet as possible.
As a rule of thumb, if the prospect has to scroll to read the message, it is too long.
Are You Okay?
Finally, if a prospect does not respond after a week to ten days of follow-up, hit them with the are you okay? message.
The are you okay? message is not a break-up message.
Instead, it is a message intended to stir the prospect’s emotions to inspire them to take action.
Here is how it works: Write the subject line of your email as ‘Are you okay?’ and leave a very short message letting the prospect know you have tried to reach them several times and want to make sure they are okay.
The idea is to get their emotions brewing- It is difficult to ignore somebody who shows genuine concern for you.
That said, stir the emotional pot to get the prospect in your inbox!
Final Thoughts on How to Get Responses With Sales Follow-Up
Generating responses with sales follow-up is about overall business success.
If leads do not respond to follow-up, they will not convert into customers.
If customers are not making purchases, your business does not even exist.
Are you ready to follow-up as if your business life depends on it (because it quite literally does)?
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