Regardless of the type of business we’re in research shows that the most successful people are those that consistently follow up. We can’t get the sale if we don’t follow up. We can’t build a relationship if we don’t follow up. To be able to follow-up successfully is clearly a skill and a characteristic that screams that you are different. Whether you are an attentive waitress or advertising executive, it is all about the follow up. Let’s face it, most people just don’t consistently follow up.
What’s your follow up like?
When I truthfully answer this question, I know I have some work to do here. It’s not because I don’t follow up but because I am one of “those people” that will continually follow up. For an example, if there is a “did not respond” until I hear no I am going to try and connect with you in various ways. Some people appreciate the persistence and I think it makes them that more interested in finally connecting. But, in most cases, I have to admit that the level of tenacity I bring to follow up isn’t always balanced; and, sometimes the scale can tip and prospects might (probably) think I’m a pest.
Every time I start thinking I’m a pest, I read research like this one from Dartnell Corp about following up on sales prospects. It’s obvious the most people eventually give up but these numbers are staggering. Here they are:
48 % give up on the first contact
73 % give up on the second contact
84 % give up on the third contact
90% give up on the fourth contact
The premise of the study was based on the fact that persistence pays off; which, of course makes perfect sense - that is intellectually it makes sense. But, when you are facing rejection after rejection it becomes an emotional response to give up.
What statistical group do you fall-in?
If it’s a lower one don’t feel bad. You can make it a point to develop stronger follow-up skills now. If you’re in the higher group, congratulations! You’re one of the 10% of salespeople that generate 80% of sales. It takes a disciplined person to follow up while continually hearing no. You see the end game and know the process is long. It’s very clear, in most cases, the longer we continue to have meaningful follow-up with a prospect the greater opportunity to win a client. (The client sees that you care and that you’re not going anywhere). It can be daunting but in the end the result is worth celebrating. If it were easy everyone would do it, right?
But it’s not. It is well documented that it takes between 11-14 touches before someone buys. And, I can vouch for that in my business too. Some might say that sounds high. But to me, it sounds right on point because you’re including multiple layers of touches including e-mail, social media, phone, and/or face to face meetings.
It’s hard to make that many connections and to not be a pest. There will be definite times when the client might not appreciate the bugging. It’s hard to do but we need to back off. (Or at least I do). But, I’m willing to admit that my follow-up needs more balance; and, I plan to work on it. What about you?
Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and Founder of the eRetailer Summit. Sonya has extensive experience in creating original innovative solutions to overcome major business challenges. Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries and has built strong business relationships across diverse brands.
Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Fairfield County Connecticut.
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