Sales Coaching Tip: Phone and Email Follow Up

This question was asked on “At what point is it a good idea to stop attempted contact with someone who showed mild to moderate interest from your initial sales pitch? If they aren’t returning calls or emails, do you continue to attempt contact or is it best to let it go?” Below is my public answer.

It depends on each individual situation.  In some cases it will be best to let it go immediately and in others it will be best to have a clear follow up process.

Each situation needs to be evaluated.  I have witnessed sales professionals/business owners chase after opportunities way too long, and I have also helped them implement a highly professional follow up method to eventually do business with very large clients.

It is essential that your follow up process does not put the prospect on the defensive or cause any pressure at all.  In general, when someone is not responding to a voice mail or phone call after they showed mild to moderate interest, it means something may have changed.  Or it means they realized they showed some interest, but have a hard time saying, “No” and they don’t want to have to tell you, that they don’t want what you have to offer.

Hence, they (may) just choose to ignore the sales person, knowing eventually they will go away.  This sometimes is easier than saying, “No thanks, we have no interest in your product or service.” So, what can you do?

First, in your meeting or conference call where they showed mild to moderate interest, it is essential that the next meeting and next step is clearly covered. (Before you leave!)  Ensure it makes sense for your business and for their business goals most importantly.  Don’t leave the meeting without next action steps in place.  That will help prevent all of this.

Yet, if it is too late, and that step was missed or steps were canceled or there was a major delay…Here are some other ideas: Make it easy for them to say “No.” Let them know it is ok, ‘if you don’t want and need this, it is not for everyone.’ You can even tell them, “It is ok to say ‘no’ and that you don’t want this.”  Guess what happens when you do this? They respect you, and feel no pressure to say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’

You are not trying to push anything on them either way, you are just trying to find out if there is a mutual fit or not to do business.  You clearly explain that it may not be for them, and that is ok.  Make it easy for them to say, “No thanks,” and you will quickly filter out those prospects who are a good mutual fit, and those who are not.  You will then find yourself spending more time with those who may be a good fit, versus chasing those who are not a good fit.

So, to tie this back into your question, think about how you can implement this philosophy into your selling, your voice mails and emails when you get to this stage (If you failed to set next steps or the actions plans changed)

Example: “Mr. X, I know we spoke 3 weeks ago about your specific ‘marketing goals’ and how our ‘ABC Service’ can help you achieve them this quarter.  I have not heard back yet on the information we needed to finalize the program.  I just want to let you know, it is ok, if you are no longer interested or if you don’t need this service any more, but if you could kindly let me know, either way, I would greatly appreciatete it.  Thank you.” (This will take *under* 30 seconds to deliver, which is ideal for a Voice Mail)

(This is just an example, I help clients create their own msg, that is natural/authentic to who they are, and their situation)  You could also tie this messaging into an email.

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