Follow-up emails are an important and challenging aspect of sales. Many salespeople focus disproportionately on cold calling or emailing and don’t plan their follow-ups thoroughly. Many are also reluctant to send follow-ups at all, as they can come across as pushy or overly ‘salesy’. But follow-ups, if conducted the right way, are some of the most powerful tools in a salesperson’s arsenal, and can go a long way toward closing and cementing a sale. These 12 simple tips will help your salespeople master the delicate balance involved and become follow-up pros.
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Timing is an extremely important aspect of following up. You don’t want to reach out too soon after your initial call, as that can seem desperate or overly insistent. However, it is important not to waste too much time and to reach out when your initial outreach is still fresh in the prospect’s mind. This varies depending on the context and how well your first call went, but a few days to a week is a good rule of thumb. Waiting too long can kill the momentum of the conversation, which is one of the essential components of a sale.
In a follow-up email, you want to recap the important points you discussed during your first conversation. This makes sure your last communication stays fresh in the customer’s mind and allows you to build on the connection you (hopefully) already started to create during your initial talk.
You should always strive to be warm, personal, and friendly in your sales emails. But this is even more critical in a follow-up. At this point, you should have tried to forge a connection with the prospect during your initial outreach, so this stage is about cementing that connection. Of course, you need to use tact and discretion here to make sure you are not being overly personal or informal. But you should see follow-ups as a chance to continue building a relationship, creating trust, and forging a personal connection.
Your subject line and the first few lines of your email are by far the most important parts of your message. In fact, most of the time your prospect will only skim through the rest of the email if they look at it at all. So you have to make sure you grab their attention right away. Your subject line should be punchy and specific to differentiate your message from the generic sales emails that your prospects are probably already being bombarded with. It is important to stand out, but you also want to be direct, straightforward, and to the point. Your customer should not need to read the whole email to understand what you are asking for. Lead with your value proposition and make this as personalized as possible. Which brings us to our next key element of a killer follow-up email.
By the time you are crafting a follow-up email, you should know a lot about your prospect, their business, and their current needs. You should be able to make your email highly specific and targeted to them. Of course, you want to have some kind of template to save time on this process, but you should adapt that template to each customer, their pain points, their needs, and the conversation you had with them.
When following up, you have to be aware that most prospects are going to say no more than once before they say yes. Therefore, you should always be persistent and keep trying. Especially if you had a good initial conversation with the prospect, don’t hesitate to tactfully keep trying to schedule a meeting or close the sale. The best salespeople know how to be persistent while remaining polite, and also how to handle the inevitable rejection that comes their way.
At the same time, make sure to keep your conversations respectful and bear in mind that your prospects are busy and probably get flooded with sales emails. Asking permission to contact them again, making it clear that you are only going to take a bit of their time, and acknowledging that you are aware of how busy they are, can all be great ways to keep your conversations polite and respectful. Make it clear that you are trying to help them, not just make a sale, and show concern for their problems and needs. You can throw in some helpful tips or information if appropriate. The bottom line is that you don’t want your prospects to feel used or hounded.
As you know, your prospects are probably very busy people. Even if your emails are effective and perfectly written, if they are too long the recipient will probably just get annoyed and not read them. No one likes to feel their time is being wasted or taken for granted. So be sure to keep your emails as short and concise as possible.
One great strategy is to use your follow-ups as a chance to provide more value or information to the prospect. This could entail sharing tips or suggestions based on research about their business. (This approach is obviously a bit more time-consuming). Alternatively, you can share more about your value proposition in a brief, concise way.
Your follow-ups should always end with a politely worded but direct call to action. This could be scheduling a subsequent meeting or phone call or trying to close the deal.
Again, persistence is the name of the game. 80% of the time, prospects say no at least four times before saying yes. Therefore, you should have a second follow-up lined up in case you get a rejection or radio silence. This should refer back to any constructive conversations you may have had during your initial outreach, and acknowledge any objections they may present.
At the end of the day, great follow-up emails are all about being human and understanding your customer's needs. Sending a personalized email that is well-timed to recap conversations you've had with them can help build trust and increase sales. The more persistent you are in following up, the better chance they'll remember who you are when it comes time for their next purchase decision. When writing one of these important communications, think about what type of content will resonate most with your customers - do they need something informative or helpful? Do they want an update on where things stand? Or would a personal touch be best? We hope this list has helped inspire some creative ideas about follow-ups. To save time as a sales leader, consider trying Attention to ramp up your reps faster than ever!
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