For many, a new quarter is underway, and sales teams everywhere are busy setting up first meetings. After great first meetings, it's follow-up time. And, what does it mean to 89.99% of the salespeople? Time to use their generic email template: "I was just following-up/touching base/checking in with you..."
What’s wrong? The salesperson was “touching base.” No big deal, right?
Wrong. You can do better than that. Add some value, for crying out loud. Value for customers is critical and the path to the "trusted advisor" role we all want. I'll address that in another post, but for today, let's address on how to improve follow-up to add velocity to your pipeline.
3 essential characteristics for a meaningful follow-up:
1. Good (and Fast) Follow-Up is Key
Your prospects are busy. They may not remember all the details of your discussion. What’s worse, they may be talking with your competitors, or have decided that your product is a low priority on their “to-do” list. You had their attention, make sure you keep it. Follow-up with a summary of their pain points, key priorities, agreed upon next steps, and suggested dates.
2. Include a Call-to-action
This is critical. Never end a follow-up email without a strong call to action. Stop signing off your emails with open-ended phrases like “let me know what you think” or “keep in touch” — you need to ask the prospect to help make the next move. Ask pointed questions “What day and time works best for you next week to discuss this further?” or “Based on the deadline that you mentioned, you’ll need to start using our product by the end of this month — do you have 30 minutes to sit down and discuss further on Monday (11/2) or Tuesday (11/3) in the morning?”
3. Stay Engaged
Your prospects want to work with someone who's always thinking about how they can improve their business. Be that person. Share insights about how you can add value to their business — add a link to your case study that excites them — "I thought you might be interested in learning about how ABC used us to increase their productivity by 25%." Study their business — show that you understand the implications of the latest acquisition or product announcement. Maybe even track their competition, show you know what matters most to them.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of writing emails from your perspective — but that’s the worst way to write a follow-up email. Show your prospect that you’re interested in them, and not just in closing a sale. But adding value to their business. Let's face it — your prospect isn’t interested in your product, all he cares about is how you can help him cut costs, boost revenue, or increase productivity.
To win your prospect's heart (and wallet), you need to show you care and that you have the prospect's best interests in mind. Earn their trust and add value to their process — it will be well worth it.