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What 90% of Sales People Don’t Do….

During one of the breaks at a marketing conference I was attending I was having a conversation with a fellow delegate.

As we chatted, it transpired that he had been aware of the organisation running the conference for many months and in attending the conference had done so in response to the 16th follow-up email (yes the 16th!) he had received from the organisation in question.

He went on to explain, that at the time the services the company was offering hadn’t been relevant to his needs, so he had simply deleted the emails as they came in – all 15 of them!

Then, one-day, email number 16 arrived – just at the right time! My fellow delegate had been thinking seriously about launching a new marketing campaign just as email number 16 arrived in his inbox! And ‘lo and behold’ here he was at the conference.

The point?? Follow-up is vital! And yet most of us, if we were honest, don’t follow-up with prospective customers and clients as effectively as we should.

I came across this graphic, which says it all:

Re-read the graphic again it and think about the numbers for a moment.

Only 2% of sales are made on the first contact with a prospective customer or client; and only 10% of sales are made on the first, second and third contacts combined!

And yet, as you can see from the graphic, nearly 90% of sales people have given up after contacts one, two and three – with only 10% of sales people making more than three contacts with a prospective client!

So, in other words; 90% of sales are made after the third contact with a prospect, by which time 90% of sales people have already given up!

Or to put it another way, 90% of sales are being made by 10% of sales people.

That sounds like an opportunity!

Which means that as business owners we need to ask ourselves some hard questions:

  • How many times do we follow up with prospective clients?
  • How many times do we contact a prospect after we’ve had an initial meeting with them?
  • Do we tend to give up after the first, second or maybe third contact?
  • Do we have an effective follow-up strategy in place?

So, what’s the solution? In the busyness of running our businesses day-to-day, how do we keep in front of our prospects?

Here’s some ideas:

  • Put in place an effective follow-up strategy that you use every time you meet or talk to a prospect.
  • Make sure the follow-up strategy includes a mix of some or all the following: emails, phone calls, texts, direct mail. In other words, mix it up a bit, don’t just flood their email inbox.
  • A follow-up strategy shouldn’t be a “hit and miss affair” – it should be deliberate, thought through and targeted.
  • It also needs to be regular and consistent – don’t go for weeks when your prospect never hears from you and then suddenly you blitz them with 10 emails in the course of a week. That is neither regular nor consistent and certainly not strategic.
  • Use a CRM system to automate the process of following up. Once it’s set up you’ll save a lot of time in the long run. I use Active Campaign, but Mail Chimp, Get Response and AWeber, along with many others are worth exploring.
  • Create an ongoing “nurture sequence” which is a great way of keeping in contact with your prospects and clients in a “non-salesy” way – a blog or a newsletter is a great way to do this.

Bottom line, you need to have a follow-up system in place for keeping in regular contact with prospects and potential clients.

And it needs to be a follow-up system that is strategic, consistent and targeted.

In my view, if you don’t have a good follow-up system in place, then I think you’re leaving ‘money on the table’.