It takes a combination of hard work and finesse in order to turn leads into sales, whether you are offering a service or product or simply trying to promote your brand. Follow-up is key to helping you achieve these goals. Doing so tactfully is a skill that takes time to master, but it can be done. Here are some tips to following up politely and respectfully and turning that “maybe” into a “yes!”
Have a Purpose For Following Up
Simply having somebody’s business card isn’t reason enough to contact them. Your ultimate goal is to land their business, but unless you have a compelling reason for reaching out, hold off. “Hi, this is John from XYC Corp. I’m following up to see if you’ve made a decision yet” gets old fast and feels intrusive. It helps to schedule a tentative follow-up in advance. When talking with the client, let them know you’ll give them a call on a prearranged date and time. That way, they’ll be expecting you.
Use Multiple Methods
Long gone are the days when your only options for following up involved the telephone and…well, that was it. Today’s busy professional might not have the time to answer a ringing phone, so take advantage of multiple contact methods such as email, social media, texting, and instant messaging. Consider following up the really old-fashioned way—through snail mail. This under-utilized method feels like a novelty nowadays and a handwritten note is an excellent way to add a personal touch.
Choose Your Follow-Up Time Carefully
Certain days and times are more suitable to following up than others. Avoid Monday mornings, when prospects are likely to be in meetings or catching up on emails and other tasks, and Friday afternoons, when they’ve already mentally checked out for the weekend. Early to mid-afternoon is best regardless of the day of the week; they’re more likely to be receptive after eating lunch and resolving issues or tasks that came up in the morning.
Add Value for the Prospect
Establish yourself as a resource who can help out with various problems and your client might actually look forward to hearing from you. Bring value every time you make contact, whether that involves addressing a business issue, supplying information, or sharing technical expertise. Simply offering your assistance is a great way to get on their good side and ensure they remember who you are, and will go a long way toward building a professional relationship.
Be Polite and Courteous
The old axiom you’ll catch more flies with honey certainly holds true in the business world. Simply put, it means you’ll win people over more easily when you shower them with kindness and courtesy. Use lots of pleases and thank you’s and don’t be afraid to share a newsworthy item you have come across that might relate to a prior conversation you have had. A handwritten thank-you or congratulatory note of some sort sent through the mail is a surefire way to grab their attention and make a positive impression.
Following these strategies won’t necessarily land you that big sale, but they’ll put you in good standing with your prospect and should at least guarantee a warm reception when you do communicate. Good luck and happy selling!