The Power Of The Follow Up
When it comes to sales, it’s easy to assume the worst when a prospect isn’t getting back to you. You might find yourself thinking negative thoughts such as:
- If they were interested, they would answer.
- I left the ball in their court, but I think it’s a no.
- The price was probably too high.
- I don’t want to be too pushy.
We often make fatal assumptions that prospects are no longer interested and that a delay in responding is their way of saying no. The truth is, most of the time if a prospect isn’t interested, they will tell you.
Yes, there are times that prospects will stop responding as a way of saying no, but most of the time there are other reasons that they’re not responding. The lack of a response can be as simple as they missed the message, they’re busy or even that they need more time. Recently, at BBG, we were hiring a vendor to work on a project. We’d sent a simple question and didn’t hear back. Two days later we sent the question again and still didn’t hear back. And so, we moved on and started interviewing additional companies for that work. A week later we got an email that showed an email thread we hadn’t received. Both of their previous responses had gotten caught in our spam filter and had been moved to our junk folder. A folder, we must admit, we rarely check.
Imagine, had that vendor responded rudely or just given up they would have lost the work. Thankfully, after a few days of not hearing back THEY reached out and the email made it to our inbox. It was a good reminder for us to not only check our junk folder, but the power of following up in the sales process.
This week we challenge you to take a look at follow up in your sales process. How well does your agency:
- Keep a positive tone. Even if you’re frustrated, don’t allow that to come through. Keep the overall tone friendly and casual.
- Create a sense of urgency, if possible. Give the prospect a reason to respond quickly. This might be as simple as stating their timeline or a reason acting right now will help them. Such as, “I know you wanted to have a solution in place by Friday and just wanted to make sure we’re able to accommodate your timeline.” Be careful not to make it about you, but about them and their needs.
- Don’t assume the worst. In fact, assume the positive. In your message to them don’t assume that they are saying no. It gives them an out that they may not want. Instead, assume that they are interested, but have a lot going on.
- Change up how you contact them and when. If you tend to always email, try calling or texting. Just like in our case there could be a technical reason that you’re not reaching them. Also, if you’re emailing them in the morning, perhaps try calling around the lunch hour. Switching up the times can help if they have something that is getting in their way of responding. We try to remember that people are busy and forgetting to respond is more a sign of their life than their interest.
- Don’t try to close the sale in a follow up, aim to get them to either respond or be willing to respond in the future. Not every message has to be about them saying yes. You might simply send an email that says, “I was thinking about our conversation and your need for (insert their need). I just wanted to follow up and send this article that explains how (insert product) fulfils this need. I’ll call you later this week to discuss, but if you have questions before, please let me know.”
Remember that the first rule of thumb for following up is: Silence in NOT an answer. Until you hear from them directly that they are not interested, it is possible that the answer will be a yes.