10 Tried and True Proven Strategies for Sales Follow-Up

FACT ….. 48% of salespeople NEVER follow-up with a prospect

Most salespeople never follow-up a customer after the product or service has been delivered.

There is so much opportunityfor the sales and customer service people who want to make follow-up a priority and habit.

So much business is left on the table through a complete lack of any systemised follow-up.

We all must follow-up, follow-up, follow-up….It’s one of the most successful strategies for exceptional and consistent results and improved incomes.

Excuses for not following up that I’ve heard

  • I just don’t have the time
  • I don’t know when I should follow-up
  • I don’t know what to say
  • I’m uncomfortable when making follow-up calls
  • I feel like being a pest
  • I have enough new inquiries to handle on a daily basis
  • If they’re interested, they will call me

Remember….Over 48% of salespeople never follow-up with a prospect. The professional. Do what the pros do. Don’t listen to the whingers and whiners that haven’t adopted follow-up as one of the key priorities.

The calm true sales pro and adopt the following 10 proven strategies.

10 strategies for sales follow-up

STRATEGY 1….. Making your priorities a priority

Fact: People do business with people they like.

They also do business with people, on a regular basis who follow them up on a regular basis.

Follow-up must become one of your top priorities EVERY DAY. You must allocate a certain amount of time per day for this important priority….Follow-up.

The amount of business you can do by making eight previous customer calls per day will make you a member of the winners circle. 40 calls a week to previous owners of your product or service will give you enough new business opportunities and referrals to keep you more than busy.

Add to this activity, the follow-up of your current prospects. Many of these prospects will have already decided that they want the product, but they haven’t decided who they will entrust their business with.

Your follow-up should put you at number one on their list, because over 48% of all salespeople will never call them.

STRATEGY 2….. Get and use their name

One of the biggest gripes we get from customers is that sales people either do not use that name at all or say it incorrectly.

When asking for someone’s name, ask them “how do I spell your name?” Once you have done that, repeated back to them for correctness and use it often.

Make sure that when you are data basing your prospects or customers’ details and that their name / partners name is spelt correctly.

STRATEGY 3…..Ask what is their preferred communication channel?

It is essential for you to know your prospect or customer’s preferred communication channel. This will be either:

  • Phone call….. My preferred option….. Quick, use a script you. This strategy allows you to gain feedback on your product or service and the much valued opportunity to ask for a referral. You can also update your database as to their degree of ITCH for a new updated product or service.
  • Text message….. quick, very fast response time.
  • Email….. Good for short messages.
  • Letter….. Be different, stand out from the crowd. You competitors don’t send letters.
  • Via social media… LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest.
  • E-newsletters….. Helps you to remind your database of upcoming news and reminds them of who you are and where they can find you.

It definitely pays dividends for you to ask what the customer wants regarding their preferred style of communication.

STRATEGY 4….. Always have a reason to follow-up

A great line to use is…” The reason for my call is…..” It lets the caller know that this is a professional and courteous follow-up call. You should have a list of beneficial reasons to call. It is really beneficial to prepare and use a list of say 20 reasons to call. Examples include:

  1. Happy birthday
  2. Merry Christmas
  3. Product upgrade
  4. New product released
  5. Sale starts at
  6. Limited time offer on manufacturer’s rebates
  7. Special offer….Limited time
  8. Product anniversary purchase date
  9. So many people don’t call because they have not planned any reasons to call.
  10. Be prepared….Get yourself a list

STRATEGY 5….. Sending out hand written Thank you cards

3 a day. That’s the goal. Sending out 3 hand written thank you note per day, which equates to 15 a week, which equates to 60 people a month receiving your personalised thank you notes.

If you’re looking for a business edge, you will be creating 60 positive impacts per month and building your business network.

With many businesses now focusing on the value of referral selling, you have just created 60 opportunities as a result of your thank you cards.

It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just a printed card on one side with THANK YOU and a place on the inside for you to write a handwritten note and have your name contact details et cetera printed. My strong suggestion to you is to immediately get organised and have a thousand printed. The three day habit is one of the best strategies for follow-up I could ever recommend.

Some benefits for sending out thank you cards include: 

  • It’s a tangible way of showing your appreciation for their business.
  • It is an unexpected gesture.
  • Many people keep thank you notes as keepsakes.
  • You will be different! Very few businesses take the time and effort to use thank you cards.
  • It gives you a reason for follow-up phone call
  • It’s a great habit to have.

STRATEGY 6….. A current, clean and methodically updated database/CRMsystem

A good CRM program will assist you in organising your contacts and tracking important dates. It can also keep for you huge amounts of information regarding your prospects, their buying habits, a section for notes, and likely times of next purchase. I have always regarded my database is my goldmine. The more good stuff you put into it, the more valuable it becomes as a resource for you in gaining more business, more easily.

STRATEGY 7…..Persistence

There is nothing truer than the statement – “Persistence overcomes resistance”. Our statistics show that over 50% of all salespeople lack any form of persistence when it comes to follow-up. That leaves the door open for anyone who can adopt the award-winning habit of persistence. With a little bit more determination and a focus on an extra 1% effort in all you do, you’ll be amazed by your results.

STRATEGY 8….. Always end your communications with a proposed next step

As most of your follow-up will be on the phone, it is always good to finish your call with a proposed next action step.

  • “May I have your permission to……” – Is an extremely courteous and nonthreatening question to ask of your prospect/customer. This question is answered YES in 99% of time…. “ May I have your permission to call you in one week”.
  • “May I have your permission to email you the…”
  • ”May I have your permission to send you a proposal regarding….”
  • “May I have your permission to visit with you and….”
  • “May I have your permission to send you important information on …”

This step guarantees continuance of the conversation.

STRATEGY 9….. Ask for referrals

FACT: You will never lose the sale for asking for a referral… But you can lose a lot of business if you don’t ask for one. Your choice.

Most sales pros set a target for referrals on a daily weekly or monthly basis. Why not set yourself a target of 1 referral per day. That will deliver you 20 referrals per month. These referrals will be the most profitable and easily closed business that you can get.

When asking for referrals, the key term you must use is… Who do you know…?

 STRATEGY 10……. Creating customers for life

In his bestselling book, CUSTOMERS FOR LIFE, Carl Sewell asks… “How good you want to be?” He also asks… “Ask your customers what they want… And give it to them”.  Your customers will be the best barometer for you in gauging your level and provision of good customer service.

MUST READ… CUSTOMERS FOR LIFE written by Carl Sewell

In his book, Carl Sewell gives 10 Commandments of customer service.  My favourite chapters are:

  • Under promise and over deliver… Customers expect you to keep your word, exceed it
  • Your mother was right….Show people respect. Be polite. It works
  • Japanese them… Learn how the best really do it, make their Systems your own. Then improve them

The strategy of creating customers for life is not all that hard when using the above eight time tested strategies.

Remember….Relationships are like plants, you must nurture them or they will wither away and die.

About David Jackson CSP 

David is internationally known as “THE SALES DOCTOR” for his Vitamins for Success and prescriptions for uplifting Profits.  He has over 30 years of experience as an internationally recognised Sales Skills and Communication Coach including Keynote Public Speaker. David brings the ability to positively transform the skills and attitudes of his audiences with humour and real world experiences. He will lift you to a new level.

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