If you own a business, your goal is to promote and sell your product or service, and it all starts with leads.
Persistence is crucial in sales, but you want to ensure that you and your sales team are being efficient and not too ‘sales-y’ or annoying. So how do you bridge that gap between being persistent and annoying?
Even after you’ve connected with a prospect, chances are you are not the only business trying to get their attention, they are too busy (and so is their inbox), or you may get stuck in the gatekeeper’s limbo.
We put together some best practices on how to successfully follow up with your leads:
Some sales departments like to start with an email; others prefer to get on the call – and there are pros and cons to both methods.
Send An Email
Advantages of email are that it’s visual, provides time for your prospect to process and consider your offer. Email can be flagged, placed into a “follow up later” category, and forwarded to others in the company who may be decision makers.
However, the number of emails people receive nowadays can be overwhelming, which means your email could be stuck in the inbox clutter. If the recipient doesn’t know you, chances of your email being read are slimmer than the messages from someone who can be immediately identified. This means that you’re probably not going to get a response from your very first email, so be prepared to send multiple emails if you use this approach.
Call Your Prospect
With a phone call conversation, you can catch a prospect’s attention much more quickly, and establish a human-to-human connection that’s quite different from a spam-bot. If you’re comfortable with this approach, you could secure a follow-up call much sooner than you would with emails.
However, chances of needing to leave a voicemail are quite high. And even then, it doesn’t mean it’ll be heard, or a response prompted. Often, voicemails go in one ear and out the other.
The best solution – get in touch with your prospect by using both the phone and email method of communication.
A popular method known as Jeff Hoffman’s BASHO Sequence follows a series of four voicemail/email touches, starting with introductory, to persistent; if the prospect hasn’t responded after those three attempts, end it with a break-up.
Get Your Lead’s Attention
Your message should be succinct and attention grabbing whether you jump on a phone call or shoot an email, customized to offer something that they actually need and containing the following:
• Reason why you are contacting them, which focuses on him or her
• Reason why you are contacting them at this time, which ties in to your business
• Ask for something you want that is easy and quick to complete – a short pre-scheduled call at a specified time; to be referred to a person you’d like to speak to within their organization, etc.
In a few sentences, you can let your lead know that you’ve done your homework, that you have something of value to offer that can help them/support them, and that your intention is to open a dialogue with them.
If you left a voicemail, immediately follow up with an email to let your lead know that you left them a message, what it was about, and finishing with an open-ended question to inspire further conversation.
In general, be personable and avoid talking about what you’re trying to sell. Remember, it’s about the prospect, and nothing is more off-putting than leaving a sales-pitch in their inbox or voicemail.
Be Pleasantly Persistent
If your initial voicemail and email combo don’t get you a response back, reach out again after at least 48 hours. This time, reposition the value you’re offering in a somewhat different way.
Start with a quick reminder that you called before, what you said, and that you had suggestions for helping them better achieve their goals, then end the message with another open invitation to connect.
If you still don’t get a response, wait another 48 hours and then reach out again. On this message reiterate that you’ve called twice before (in a calm, friendly tone), and offer a bit more information. Outline the value you could provide in a bit more detail. This round of follow-up email can contain one or two relevant materials from your own business content. This could be a recent blog article that addresses a challenge that you think they might be experiencing. Remember to emphasize that you’re available to speak about your prospect’s goals and that you have expertise in specific areas relevant to them.
After the third attempt, you may want to continue with one or two more tries, or decide that it’s best to send a “break-up” email. If so, let your prospect know that you’ve tried to get in touch with them on several occasions and have not heard back, and that you will not bother them anymore.
By sending this email, you are actually reminding the prospect one last time that you’ve been trying to get in touch and that you may have something they need. Would you be surprised to know that this is the email that gets the highest response rate for many of the sales people?
Here’s why: Prospects are often too busy to respond – even if they saw and read your emails or heard your messages and do want to talk to you. But if those messages left a positive impression and they are interested in speaking with you about how you can help them, they were possibly relying on you to continue trying to get in touch with them. You are, after all, a salesperson!
Connect With Prospects Using Other Methods
While phone and email are typically the go-to approaches nowadays, since they’re direct and they do work, other ways to get in touch with leads that let you be persistent, yet not come across as annoying, are:
If your lead is not responding to your voicemails and emails, interacting with them on social media provides a platform to build up enough rapport to inspire a conversation with you.
Some prospects will just not pick up the phone or respond to your emails, and they may not be using social media. A lot of business can be generated based on referrals. When focusing on an account, explore talking to anyone from that company who can share about the goals, challenges, and priorities of that account. A referral or an introduction from someone within or someone outside who is connected to them is often well received.
Focus On The Company, Not The Individual Lead
Consider mapping out your lead’s organizational chart and make connection by prospecting multiple stakeholders. The more relationships you can build, the higher your chances of connecting and helping them see how you can help them. Often times, multiple people at your lead company could be involved in the buying decision. Reach out to all of the influencers and decision makers to increase your connect rate, as well as your eventual closing rate with a target account.
Don’t Take It Personally
Reasons why salespeople are not able to connect to prospects vary: some often give up too soon, some destroy their chances of connecting by not taking the right approach, some have a fear of rejection, which makes it very challenging for them to just pick up the phone over and over again. Ultimately, it’s the salesperson’s responsibility to not get emotional in the process, and stay efficient and persistent.
Reach out and clearly communicate that you are here to provide value, and then understand when it’s time to back off. During the process of prospecting and following up with your leads, know the importance of picking up the phone enough times to reach enough prospects.
When you choose the RODA marketing team, you are choosing our passion for building trust and lasting relationships, paired with our experience and proficiency in helping businesses with digital marketing – leading to more sales for you.
Check out our portfolio and contact us to see how together, we can take your business to higher levels of success.