Let’s talk sales, follow up strategies.
How do you follow up with a potential client without being annoying and without being pushy.
My name is Ryann Dowdy and I am a sales coach. I help high achieving women leave their 9-5 and build six figure businesses by mastering their sales skills.
One of the questions that we hear all the time from the women in our community is how do I follow up without being annoying?
I’m going to use the example that we have already had one conversation with a potential client, and we are trying to follow up with that person because there’s a lot of different ways to follow up.
So I want to give you a real example.
Maybe you’ve had a sales conversation with someone, had a discovery call, a consult of some kind. How do you follow up?
First things first, when it comes to follow up, my friends is when we are in sales conversations, I want you to always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always schedule your next step.
Never end one conversation without the next conversation scheduled.
Say for instance, you put together custom quotes for your clients. So you run a discovery call, you run a consult call and then you schedule the next meeting to go over the proposal together. Say for instance, you do pitch on the call. So you have a package. You’re able to say, here’s my packages. Here’s my solution. And the person isn’t able to make a decision – that’s okay. Schedule a follow-up call to get their decision.
Say for instance, they said, yes. We want to schedule the next meeting and the next step in the sales conversation, even if it is your first consult first session, onboarding, meeting, whatever that looks like for you.
So, when we have a sales conversation of any kind, we always want to make sure that we go ahead and follow that next step. So, it was scheduled that next follow-up steps so that we don’t have to follow up. We don’t even have to worry about it because it’s already done. It’s already on the calendar.
However, sometimes we forget to do that. Or maybe you’re looking back in retrospect and you haven’t done that already.
So, what are some ways you can follow up?
If that first meeting is missed, we show up and that person no shows.
I am going to send a message immediately and say, “Hey, Sarah, I know we were supposed to connect at one o’clock today. Sorry I missed you. I’m really looking forward to discussing next steps.”
I’m going to do that immediately when that meeting is missed. And then the next day I’m going to send another message that says, “Hey, Sarah, sorry we were able to connect yesterday. I have some time available on Tuesday or Thursday. Do one of those times to work best for you? I can get this conversation rescheduled.”
And then I’m going to follow up the next day. And I’m going to say something similar. “Hey, Sarah is still looking forward to continuing our conversation. I wanted to give you a couple of other times on my calendar.”
Notice that this is somewhat close together. And probably to you feels a little bit aggressive, but here’s why I think that this is important.
#1. We make a lot of assumptions.
Like, oh, well they don’t like us, or they’ve already decided they’re a no, or they’re not interested. And so we’ve made a lot of assumptions, but for me, I find that most people are just really super busy.
There’s a lot going on in life today. And especially if you are working with a mom who’s homeschooling their kids or a business owner, who’s running a business… there’s a lot going on.
So I make the assumption that most humans are just busy and not rude, right? Cause to me the lack of communication after I’ve given you my time – it’s just rude. And I know that that probably doesn’t sit well with a lot of people, but for me as human beings, human to human respect, if it’s a no, tell me that, it’s a no, because otherwise I just assume that you are just busy because otherwise you are an adult that could easily tell me no. And that mindset, my friend has served me over again and over again, that if they were a no, they would just tell me no, because otherwise it would be rude to just blow me off.
That has allowed me to be persistent without ever worrying about being annoying because I’m not being annoying, you’re being rude.
That mindset works really, really well, but the reason that I’d want those, those conversations stacked up against one another really quickly is because I find the closer to that initial conversation that you can have that next conversation, the more likelihood you will have of actually landing that client.
I find that the more time that goes on between initial conversation and the second conversation, the less likely that I am up getting a yes. So I find that, Hey, if I don’t go all in and these next 48 to 72 hours, I’m probably not going to get the deal anyways.
So now’s a good time as any to lean it. The second thing that I like to do when it comes to follow up, um, is making sure that I always ask for permission to follow up, right? If I don’t hear from you, can I call you if I don’t hear from you, can I send you an email? If I don’t hear it from you? Can I reconnect with you? Because then I have permission, right? Then it’s no longer annoying or any of those things. I have permission. So first things first always schedule your follow-up. But if you don’t make sure that your touch points are consistent right. Immediately after they miss a call the next day and the next day, but always asking for permission to follow up right. Or telling them in that email it’s Hey, Sarah, if I don’t hear from you, I’m gonna reach back out tomorrow.
What I will eventually do though, is let my ups start to space itself out. So, I went for immediately next day, next day, but I’m gonna let two days go by and then three days go by and then four days go by and I’m going to follow up pretty aggressively for about two weeks. And then after that, I’m going to go ahead and send some sort of breakup, email, or message.
Side note: make sure that you’re following up on whatever platform you were originally connecting with that person. So, if you guys were trading emails, follow up on email. If you were in messenger, if you were texting, if it was over the phone, whatever works best. But I always try to use the platform that I originally connected with the person that seems to work best for me.
What do we say in that breakup email?
The breakup email is a couple of things. One it’s to let them know that I’m following up. But two, I want to leave the door open. See, some people realize that it’s rude to blow someone off and to not give them an answer. And then they feel bad that they’ve done that. And I don’t ever want anyone to feel that. I want them to know that the door is always open, right? The door is always open to come back.
So, once they do finally decide that they are ready to hire, I want them to still feel like they can come back to me and not feel bad because they have ghosted me.
So what I will normally say is, “Hey, Sarah, I was really looking forward to working together. I can tell by your lack of response, that the timing doesn’t make sense right now. I hope that you’re well, and I wish you the best of luck and just know that the door is always open. Feel free to reach out to me if you need anything.”
The client is important. But so am I. My time is important. What I do is valuable. A lack of response is telling me that the timing isn’t right. However, I do want them to know that the door is always open because I don’t want them going to look for someone else.
I want them to come back to me and what the breakup email will often do is get a response.
It’ll say, “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry. I’ve just been so busy and yeah, you’re right. The timing isn’t right.”
And then again, I will ask for permission, can I circle back with you in 30 days and see how things are going?
Or sometimes they will get a response that says, “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry that I never got back to you. We went a different direction.”
Then at least I know that it’s a no.
And for me, no is so much better than maybe. I feel like maybe it’s sales purgatory. So I’m okay with a no.
So immediately when the meeting is missed, the next day and the next day, and then start to space your communication out to get till about 14 and then send your breakup email.
And remember, anytime you ask for permission to follow up with someone you are now no longer annoying or spammy or any of those other things, because you have permission to do so.