Following up is a critical step in building and maintaining long-term relationships with new clients. Included as part of most sales skills training courses, follow-ups simply involve making the effort to communicate with your client to see how he/she is doing and whether he/she has any problems with or questions about their new product or service. Along with showing you care, follow-ups help detect fixable problems. Without following up, you may never know the real reasons why clients never get back to you.
An Alarming Fact about following up
Even though follow-up is a critical part of the sales process, following up is more often than not neglected by sales professionals. A survey in the United States revealed some alarming statistics. The research, taken from a sizeable sample of sales professionals in different industries revealed some interesting findings. When asked the question “Do you follow up sales leads?” 80% of sales professionals replied that they do not follow up with new leads. In other words, only 20% of salespeople do any kind of following up!
Although following up is included in most sales skills training courses, of the 20% of sales professionals who do follow up, 44% of them make just one follow up attempt, 14% try up to 3 times and only 8% of them try up to 5 times. Now let’s add few more statistics, not on the selling part but on the buying side.
Statistics also show that only 2% of sales occur after the first meeting and that 80% of the non-routine sales, in other words, new products or services sales, occur after the 5th follow-up.
Do you realize how many opportunities are slipping away from you just by not following up? How many more deals you could close if you were consistent and persistent enough with your follow-up.
Why sales professionals do not want to follow up
So why do so few of us follow up on new leads? This may be explained by a dysfunctional mindset. Most sales professionals believe that if they do not hear back from their prospects, this means their prospects are not interested in what they have to offer. This is our first misconception and myth that we have to delete from our mindset. First of all, you should not wait and expect your prospect to automatically get back to you; you are the one who needs to initiate contact with them again. To be clear, it is your job to do so and anybody with sales skills needs to be doing so.
Reasons why you should follow up
If you don’t hear back from your prospect, it does not simply mean they are not interested. Here are some other reasons why people who could benefit from your product, service, or expertise do not buy:
- A complex decision-making process: for some of your prospects decision-making processes may take time, this is especially true when you are selling to companies where more than one department is involved. By following up, you may offer assistance to help navigate through this process and help your prospect to buy from you.
- Lack of time: some of your prospects may want to buy from you but they just did not have the time to contact you again to place an order. Simply by following up, your prospect may thank you for your call and place the order right away, or in the near future.
- Too many other concerns on their mind: as with any other human being, your prospect may have different priorities and other things to take care of. They still may be interested in your offer, but they need to finish other pressing matters. By following up, you will remind them about your offer so that when you become their top priority, they will still remember who you are and that you are there to help.
- They forget. This may be the most common reason why your prospects do not immediately buy from you. They just forget. So following up may help them to remember why they should buy from you.
Increasing your sales results (especially during a crisis)
Now you know that if we fail to follow up, we are missing some fantastic opportunities to close deals. To recap, these three top tips will help you to improve your sales skills and increase your sales results.
- Remember that no news does not mean rejection.
- Follow up rather than giving up.
- Follow up at least 5 times because 80% of deals take at least 5 follow-ups.
Some sales professionals may wonder how to follow up properly without being an annoyance to their prospects. Look out for the next sales skills article to find out how to do that. If you would like to have access to a complete sales skills course, giving you complete selling skills techniques on how to increase your sales results, commission and achieve your sales target, click here: KPI Consultancy Thinkific
You can also find other free sales skills training resources on our official YouTube channel: KPI Consultancy YouTube Channel