The following quote by Roy T Bennett from The Light in the Heart captures the main message for successful virtual sales follow up in this episode of Virtual Selling, Concreate Results.
“Do not fear failure but rather fear not trying.”
Why does that capture the key to successful follow up?
Because too many sales opportunities are lost because they are abandoned by the seller too quickly.
Stay Top of Mind
In virtual selling, or any sales, it takes a lot of effort and a lot of money to get in front of a prospect to start a sales conversation. When that buyer doesn’t make a decision right then, either because they’re not ready or were never asked, it’s important to persistently stay top of mind, to persistently nudge them back to the POWN you can help them with.
The Follow Up Gap
Research shows that most sellers abandon follow ups far too quickly.
44% give up after 1 follow up
92% give up by the 4th follow up
The problem with that is there is a gap because…
80% of prospects require 5 or more follow ups
Yikes! That’s a big gap in effort versus needed input for the right outcome.
What Gets in the Way of Following Up?
Your mindset around follow ups and not having a system in place often get in the way. A particularly common pitfall is the stories we tell ourselves about why the buyer hasn’t reconnected, responded, or decided.
Note that this is NOT about the prospecting follow up to get the first conversation; we’re talking about follow ups with prospects we’ve already had sales conversations with.
The Stories We Tell Ourselves
Here’s what sellers tell me:
- They must have decided to work with someone else
- If they really wanted what I offer, they’d have decided.
- I guess my fees were just too high.
- With the virtual conversation, I didn’t have time to build enough trust.
- I don’t want to seem desperate.
The Power of a Follow Up System
If you apply a system to your follow up or reach-outs after a conversation, you’re going to be there when your prospects are ready.
Or you’ll get a decision that they’re not going to buy and be able to confidently move on from that opportunity at the right time knowing you’re not a good fit.
Joe in California has applied a system to his follow up for two years, and last week he had a prospect say they were ready to meet and move forward – after 19 months of follow up! Was it worth it? Joe says “YES” – because the system…
- Takes out the guess work
- Makes it efficient
- Allows him to persistently pursue
Skip the Negative Self Talk
The first tip for effective follow ups is to stop YOUR self-talk. If the buyer hasn’t told you those specifics, you’re working on assumptions…and those assumptions can kill your growth!
Systemized for Success
Now, let’s talk about a follow up system, and in future installments I’ll share the cadence, timeline, and what to include in your actual messages.
What does work is to create a system around your follow ups. Like any system, it will keep you consistent and productive, while also removing the mental effort it takes each time and those damaging assumptions.
Here’s an easy system for follow up.
- The cadence – the timeframe
- Variety of Modes to use
- Resources needed:
- Team members
- Execution plan
Are You Following Up Enough?
Consider your mindset for follow ups. Do you follow up enough? Do you give people the opportunity to know that you’re still going to be there, that you’re persistence is a demonstration of what it will be like to work with you?
Or have you abandoned the prospect and told yourself stories that have left your prospects not getting what you offer?
Stay tuned for the next episode where I share a systematic cadence and timing for your follow up system.
More Follow Up Resources Available
And if you’d like the bigger picture and story of follow ups, here’s a link to a 50-minute webinar where I share all the best strategies in one event.
The 4 Key Components of a Strong Follow up
First, do NOT “check in” – it’s passive, unspecific, and ineffective.
Instead, frame out your follow ups with 4 key components:
- Remind your prospect why you spoke in the first place. What was the problem, opportunity, want or need they had?
- Explain what you’re asking – is it:
- To talk?
- A request for an email response?
- For them to submit/send something?
- Give a timeframe to the action request
- Explain what happens next. What is your commitment to them? For example, “If I don’t hear from you by… I’ll call you Tuesday at 4 p.m.”
Templates Can Help
To make this easy – create 8-12 templates and make them a mix of emails, phone calls, and (gasp!) texts.
When making phone calls, it’s okay to leave a voicemail letting them know when you’ll next contact them.
How Many Follow Ups Will It Take?
Maybe 2 or maybe 12. Heck it might be 20 spread over a year until they are faced with year-end taxes or some other life event that spurs a decision. The important thing is to remain top-of-mind until they are ready.
Stay tuned for tips on the cadence, timeline, and what to include in your actual messages.