Strategies for Effective Follow-Up (2)

In this second and concluding part (see Part 1 here), Bunmi Jembola discusses the right attitude to following up on prospects and how you should write your follow-up email.

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Let us now continue right from where we stopped the last time. I had discussed the wrong kind of follow-up emails and why they are not particularly good. Let me now show you an example of my own kind of follow-up emails.

Does your email message stand out in the prospect’s mind?

Hi Olu,

The last time we spoke, you requested I follow-up with an email.

A few interesting ideas are beginning to shape your industry, though and I thought I should share them with you. I have attached an article from Bloomberg on the future of Health Insurance. It should make an interesting read.

I should love to ask too if you have given any additional considerations to my proposal. I’d be happy to chat on the phone and answer any questions that may have come up.

If you are not too busy, 2:00 p.m this Thursday might be a good time to meet. If you are, kindly do suggest your preferred time.

Best,
Bunmi

Paragraph 2 does two things

  1. It shows clearly you are looking out for the prospect’s interest
  2. It demonstrates you are keeping up with industry trends and that reinforces positive perception

End every conversation with a clear next step.

Be right on target; avoid loose ‘next steps’

Did you notice I did not merely ask for a meeting time? I suggested one. A loose next step can make the prospect non-committal.

Rather than a newsletter, you can actually refer a prospective customer or include a viable lead, or even suggest some other opportunities for growth. I often tag my clients/prospects to useful linkedin conversations or other social media leads.

Handling Unresponsiveness

Earlier in my sales career, I had thought people would respond to a mail, if they actually wanted a deal done. I didn’t want to disturb people too much. But then, I found out people were all too busy each day trying to meet their own sales figures and would not bother with yours, except if failing to buy your solution posed a present existential threat to them. People can actually be so busy as to forget to reply a mail.

People are busy chasing after their own sales figures, too!

When a prospect ignores a mail, do not fall into the temptation of sending a “SECOND REMINDER” or “THIRD REMINDER” or something that suggests you expected them to have gotten back. Do not forget, they do not owe you a thing. At that point, you can actually put in a call. If they do not pick, add a text message. You should NEVER call a prospect more than twice. Never ever give the impression of desperation. It creates resentment.

In instances where a specific next step is agreed, which requires the customer’s action, say, a review of a proposal and he seems unyielding even after two or three emails (and maybe a phone call, as well), DO NOT KEEP CHASING!

Do not keep chasing after your prospects

Consistently sending reminder emails will suggest to him you will continue to do so and that might be counter-productive, making him think there is all the time in the world and they can keep postponing. It also puts you in some compromising position with regards to your ability to bargain, because it becomes crystal clear you desperately need that deal. In this instance, I like to leave a clear message that squarely puts the responsibility for closure on the client; something like this:

Dear Frank,

It looks like the purchase of the health plan is no longer on your priority list at the moment. I shall be waiting to hear from you, once the time is right.

Once again, thank you for your interest.

Best,

You

Now, the message above clearly tells Frank you will not always come chasing and if he really wanted to buy, he would make the next move. Trust me he will, if he is in a position to buy

I hope this has been useful.

Next time, I shall be sharing with you The 10 Fatal Errors of Selling. You sure don’t want to miss it.

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This concludes the post, Strategies for Effective Follow-Up. To read the first part, go here.

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Bunmi Jembola3 Posts

Bunmi Jembola is a Sales & Marketing Consultant. He made over N12 Billion in sales value in one decade, working for three employers. He has over one decade of sales experience across four industries (FMCG, Consulting, Banking and Technology). Bunmi trains and coaches sales and marketing officers and entrepreneurs on how to generate consistent high-value clients. He is CEO of Venture Starter Nigeria and Africa Startup Festival.He can be contacted at [email protected]

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