The Absolute Importance of Sales Follow-ups


Quick takeaway: Learn to see follow-ups for the positive force they are instead of a necessary pain.

Oh, pity the poor follow-up. So many people hate it. That icky feeling of being a pest, of quasi-spamming someone. The unpleasant perception that you need the person you’re following-up with more than they need you. And of course, the simple difficulty of crafting ways of following-up so that it doesn’t sound like a follow-up.

Yeah, it’s tough.

And it’s a completely necessary part of relationship-based sales.

People never buy the first time you contact them. There are questions to be answered. Credibility needs to be established. And a relationship needs to be fostered. That process takes time—from weeks to months to years.

The driver of that process is you, not the client. Unless you have a total monopoly in your market, the client expects you to do the heavy lifting. While you may not make the initial contact, you will certainly be leading most—if not all—subsequent contact.

And throughout that subsequent contact, there will be times when the client doesn’t answer your email or call.

And you’ll have to follow-up.

The best way to tackle this reality is to see follow-ups in a positive light. They’re not a pain. They’re an opportunity to prove that you care enough to keep at it.

Consider this:

  • You may feel like you’re being a pest… but maybe the other person honestly forgot to answer you.

  • You may feel like you’re being a pest… but maybe you’re differentiating yourself from the lazy competition.

  • You may feel like you’re being a pest… but maybe the other person sees you as being persistent.

  • You may feel like you’re being a pest… but maybe the other person like to use follow-ups as a way to help them manage procurement.

So do follow-up. But:

  • Follow-up once

  • Follow-up twice

  • Don’t follow-up a third time if you still haven’t been answered

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