Regardless of the product being sold, sales is a tough field to really excel in. Many salespeople often complain about their low sales volume at the end of the month. When asked how many follow up attempts they make, the answer is usually, “Once or twice.” The unfortunate fact, however, is that 80% of sales are made after the 5th follow up.
When I first started doing sales with Full Scope Creative, I only did the typical 1 or 2 follow up attempts (either phone call or email). I attended every networking event I could and was writing a good number of proposals, but with only the 1 or 2 follow ups, I wasn’t closing many. Fast forward to today: I keep track of my follow ups, and on many projects I am making contact 8 – 12 times for each prospective project. When I first started to do more follow up calls, I kept a notepad on my desk (yes, paper and pen type), and each time I’d make a follow up call or email I’d make a quick note about the date and time and if I left a message or what the prospect may have said. I would also make a note about when my next call on that project should be. Eventually the notepad approach wasn’t cutting it anymore, so I switched to a simple spreadsheet that I keep on our company Google Drive. I still track the same information for each follow up call: date, time, contact method (telephone or email), what I said, what the client maybe said, and when to make the next call.
I mentioned that for many projects I do 8 – 12 follow ups; on a couple of projects, I’ve actually gone up to 15+ calls and emails. How do I know when to stop? After 15 calls to one prospect they agreed to the project. Another, after 15, they said they really weren’t interested anymore. So how many follow ups should you make? Well, let me ask you – how much do you want to close the sale? I often keep making follow ups until I either receive the sale or the clients let me know that they are no longer interested.
Doing follow ups can seem like a waste of time and a never ending pain in the neck. The simple fact of the matter is that the top salespeople in any industry make 5 or more follow up attempts on most sales. The only question you have to ask yourself is do you want to be one of the top salespeople? If so, follow ups are required.