The Importance Of Sales Follow-up

You have called them, you have sent them an email, and you sent them a postcard. However, you still didn’t get an answer? Very few sales emails result in a “yes” by the client the very first time.

Prospects might be possibly preoccupied, want time to think about the product or service on offer, or they just might not require your product at that moment in time.

This is why you, as a sales executive, should never take a “No” response as the final answer. You have no way of knowing why a prospect has not answered; and the only way to find out is to follow up. “No” probably just means: “Not now”. About 60% of customers say “No” four times before saying, “Yes”.

While every case will be different, the simple fact of the matter is that if you are taking no response as an answer and never trying again, you are not going to be making as many sales – or as much money – as you could be.

WHY DO SALES REP DON’T FOLLOW-UP IN SALES

According to data reported in the Mailshake Outreach Playbook, 70% of salespeople give up after the first email. Inevitably, sometimes, sales lead to waste your time, but that is not always the case. So why are so many sales reps failing to do so? There are numerous factors contributing to this. Here are some of the major reasons why:

  • They don’t want to seem pushy
  • They forget
  • They simply don’t realize the importance of following up


It is understood that if someone asks not to be contacted again, we should not push him or her. We also know that we should not keep sending follow-up emails ad infinitum to prospects who have not replied. Excluding these circumstances, giving up on a prospect simply because they did not open or respond to your email is a bad idea – period.

HOW DOES FOLLOWING-UP SALES CALLS IMPACT CUSTOMERS AND YOUR BUSINESS?

Following-up after a sales call is not just an exercise in persistent service and politeness, but a tried and tested practice that has a measurable impact on the experiences your customers have with both you, as a salesperson as well as your organization.

  • Customers feel they matter and you care for their needs
         By going the extra mile, you ensure your customers that you are always there and ready to help at all costs.
  • Customers become more open to your suggestions
         By following-up with your customers, you communicate to them that you are actively interested and involved in ensuring that their needs can be met.
  • Boost in sales
         Persistent follow-up help in converting leads in the long term.
  • Increase customer retention
         Satisfied customers are more loyal.
  • Improvement in overall performance
         Persistence by your sales team will positively affect your overall performance and ultimately increase revenues.
  • Differentiate
         By following up regularly, you will differentiate yourself from the crowd, as most businesses do not bother doing what you will be doing.


HOW AND WHEN TO MAKE FOLLOW-UP SALES CALLS

In the classic and widely known Lead Response Management Study, Wednesday and Thursday were found to be the best days to qualify leads. To further cement the trend there was a 49% difference between leads qualified (meaning they agreed to enter the sales process) on Thursdays and those that qualified on Tuesdays.

So, does this data still hold true today? A 2017 CallHippo survey studied 24 weeks of data of numerous companies across various verticals and found Wednesdays and Thursdays are still the best days to call prospects and follow-up leads. In this survey, they further found a staggering 46% difference between calls made on Wednesdays and those made on Mondays. Friday remained the worst day on which to call prospects. 

The Lead Management Study also discovered that the best time to qualify leads was between 4:00 PM and 5:00 PM local time. The second-best time was around 8:00 AM. A similar study by PhoneBurner in 2018, however, found the most productive time to cold call prospects is 10:00 AM in the prospect’s time zone. Of those salespeople surveyed during this time, 15.53% had their calls answered — 3% better than the second-best hour, 2:00 PM, which saw a 15.01% success rate.

These days, the majority of sales reps are more comfortable sending an automated email than picking up the phone. However, before moving forward, it is worth identifying whether the phone is even the best way to follow up with leads in this day and age.

That answer is a resounding “Yes”. A recent study by Marc Wayshak suggested that the phone is still the best tool for selling. In the study, 41.2% of respondents considered their phone as their most effective sales tool. With this knowledge at your advantage, make multiple follow-up calls, make a good impression when you connect with leads, and as customers and leads for more referrals. 

Steli Efti is distinguished for his philosophies on outreach and following up. He specifically advocates never giving up – as long as someone has responded and not given a clear-cut “no” for an answer. He has first-hand experience that this works. Of course, he only advocates being this persistent with warm leads. When contacting completely cold leads, he recommends sending a maximum of six emails before stopping.

CONCLUSION

The primary goal of follow-up calls is to secure a sale. Based on the aforementioned statistics, following-up will result in more sales on average than less total attempts per prospect. Besides securing sales, a good relationship and trust gained from follow-up calls with prospects will encourage consumers to purchase from you again.