Persistent salespeople keep going and get results. 80% of deals take five or more calls, emails, messages, video calls and instant demos to close, whereas 44% of salespeople give up after the first attempted follow-up call.
In sales, persistence really does pay off. Most sales leads aren’t ready to buy straight away.
You might not be speaking to the budget holder, in which case a proposal is needed to get approval from them. Even if you are talking to a budget holder, they might have to wait to say yes, even if they are interested and see value in what you’re offering.
Either funding needs to be secured, or another project or two needs to be signed-off first, or there are numerous other reasons why an interested and viable potential customer can’t go ahead straight away. In which case, you need to find ways to follow-up and keep them interested, reminding them of what you’re offering, without being annoying and putting them off.
5 of the most effective follow-up tactics
#1: Call again, on the best days/times
According to an often-quoted Lead Response Management Study, the best days to qualify a prospect, or close a deal, are Wednesday and Thursday. There’s a surprising 49% difference in success rates for those days than on Tuesday.
Another survey, this time in 2017, covering 24 weeks of data from thousands of companies, found the same result, that Wednesday and Thursday are the best days for sales calls and demos, according to CallHippo.
Likewise, the worst days to speak with sales prospects are Friday afternoon and a Monday morning. The same is true for getting responses for anything important on those days, even if you email or send a message.
When it comes to the best times of the day, between 8:00 - 10:00 am, and 4:00 - 5:00 PM are more effective than any others. Whereas, the Lead Response Management Study says that 11:00 AM - 2:30 PM is the worst time to call a sales prospect, or want to arrange an instant demo/video call.
If you’re calling a prospect for the first time, a 2018 PhoneBurner study found that 10:00 AM is the best time to do that (with a 15.53% success rate). As this article is about follow-up contact, we won’t focus further on cold calls, but it’s always useful to know the optimal time.
One thing to note from this, is if you run automated emails for long-term prospects, send them out on a Wednesday or Thursday afternoon. You could always use those days for follow-up calls, or booking in demos or sales video calls with interested prospects. Use this to your advantage, to make more effective follow-up calls and demos.
#2: Share interesting content with them
Do you have an active blog or resources section of your company website?
Are articles often published that adds value and would help prospects?
If the answer is yes, then make use of them. Not only is this sort of content useful for the inbound sales process, but you can leverage when keeping prospects interested. One way is by putting prospects into an automated sales pipeline. Alternately, if you are following-up manually (which is usually the best approach), then share this content with them.
Alongside any other interesting articles, eBooks, reports, and videos.
When it comes to remembering to do this, if you are following-up manually, set diary reminders. Don’t be so focused on new prospects that you forget ones already in the pipeline. Otherwise they’ll soon vanish into the ether, and an opportunity will have been lost.
#3: Send them case studies
Case studies are incredibly valuable sales enablement material. Clients need to know what sort of work you’ve done, who with the problems your product or service has solved, and therefore, the value created.
These case studies are especially useful if they’re in the same sector and your prospect has even heard of the client you’ve already worked with. Show them how you add value.
Make it easy for a prospect to picture themselves in the same position as your clients. In other words, leverage the work you’ve already done to make it easy for them to say yes.
#4: Provide value outside of the sales process
If you run out of business related content to share but have talked about anything you have in common while on calls or talking via email, leverage this to your advantage. Share with them things they are interested in. Whether that’s sports or politics, climate issues, or funny memes, videos and GIFs, keep prospects interested and engage outside of the sales process. This way, you’re still maintaining their attention which increases the chances of long-term success winning them over as a client.
#5: Always email after calls and demos
In some sectors and companies, you can close a sale in one call. When clients have started using CrankWheel, some used to take two or more calls to achieve what they can do in one.
But we know in most cases, it takes several calls, demos pitches and video meetings to achieve that. In this case, always send an email before a call, to ensure a client can attend still. A Fireflies study found a 16% increase in the number of prospects who turned up for a meeting, especially when you send an email within the final hour before a call.
And then send one after, to confirm next steps, or if you’re sending them something you can put together quickly, to implement the action you said you would take. So after you’ve had a call, always follow up, and before the next one, send a reminder.
When it comes to winning clients, it can take time. Don’t give up. Salespeople who persist are much more likely to convert prospects, with 80% of leads converting after 5 or more calls, video calls, emails or messages.