For sales reps, one of the most gratifying feelings is getting a prospect on a call after weeks (sometimes even months) of chasing.
However, if you’ve worked in sales long enough, you know by now not to get too excited.
Statistics show that 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls in order to close. The first time you interact with a buyer is really only the beginning of a much longer sales process. To get to the finish line, you must first master the art of the follow-up.
Tips for scheduling follow-up sales calls
The work you put in during the initial sales conversations with a buyer is crucial to building the foundation for a mutually-beneficial relationship, with the hopes of ultimately closing the deal further down the line.
Often, getting a prospect to commit to a follow-up call can prove to be just as difficult as catching them cold for the first time.
To add insult to injury, there’s a lot that can go wrong between sales conversations that could jeopardize your follow-up meeting. The buyer has time to think about your product, consider if it’s worth pursuing, or even lose interest altogether.
At the end of the day, you can’t control whether or not they show up, but there are a few surefire steps you can take beforehand to increase the chances that they stick around.
Let’s get started.
Take detailed notes during the first call
While it’s true that a prospect should have your full attention during a call, you should still take notes to make sure you don’t miss any important details.
What you learn from the first conversation is going to shape your selling strategy moving forward, so it’s crucial to jot down as much relevant information as possible.
All the work that went into running the first discovery call can go out the window if you have no way of remembering what was said afterward.
Many modern sales teams rely on conversation intelligence software to record calls automatically, but an old fashioned pencil and paper can still be just as useful if you’re an efficient note-taker. All that matters is that your notes are detailed enough to guide you moving forward.
Walking away from a potential deal is never easy. However, it’s sometimes necessary not to move forward with a prospect if you realize that your product or service does not fit their needs.
By asking the right questions, you can gauge the prospect’s interest and decide whether or not the next steps are even going to be necessary. If they show a clear disinterest in what you’re selling, then it’s OK not to schedule a follow-up call.
Sometimes, it’s just not a good fit. Although it might be hard to walk away from a potential sale, it’s best to do so in the beginning stages of the sales cycle. You’re saving yourself time in the long run by avoiding a deal that most likely was going to fall through anyways.
Outline clear and actionable next steps
As a salesperson, it’s your job to own the conversation and outline clear expectations for what the next steps are. During the initial call, while you still have everyone’s attention, lock down a date and time to re-connect.
Make sure you get verbal confirmation that the agreed-upon day and time works well with their schedule. Let them know that you will be following up with a calendar invite so they know to expect a digital placeholder from you.
Additionally, be sure to briefly let them know what you plan to cover during the follow-up conversation. If it’s not apparent to them that another call is necessary, they may push back on your request. Be concise and explain exactly why another call is beneficial and what they will gain from agreeing to meet with you again.
Send a follow-up email summarizing your conversation
Following the end of the first sales call with a prospect, the immediate next step is to send them an email recap.
This is where the notes we discussed earlier come in handy. The goal is to provide a brief summary of your conversation, highlight the main takeaways, and re-iterate any next steps that you discussed.
The keyword here is brief – no one wants to read a giant block of text in an email, especially right after a long sales call. Here’s an example:
Thanks for your time today. I enjoyed speaking with you and look forward to helping you kick off your lead generation efforts with [product name].
To briefly recap what we talked about:
As discussed, I’ll send you a calendar invite for a secondary call on [insert date and time] to take a deeper dive into the platform and its features. Please let me know if you have any questions between now and then. I’m happy to help.
A follow-up email serves as a reminder of the meaningful conversation you already had and will give the prospective buyer an idea of what to expect on the next call.
You can even create an email template where you fill in the details of the previous call. Encourage them to come prepared to the next meeting with questions or concerns, allowing for a productive conversation.
Avoid “touching base” for no reason
It may be tempting to contact the buyer in between calls in an effort to stay top-of-mind, but this can actually backfire if your outreach comes off as annoying or unnecessary. Resist the urge to “check-in” or “touch base” without providing value.
For example, you can try engaging with your prospect on social media. This can be as simple as liking a tweet they shared or tagging them in a relevant LinkedIn post.
A social media interaction is an effective and much less-intrusive way of staying on their radar. This is also a perfect time to review your notes and identify opportunities for providing additional value.
What are their main objections? What problems are they looking to solve? Send them a helpful piece of content that addresses their concerns head-on or point them to a third-party review site and let your customers speak for themselves.
Your message should lead with copy that indicates you remember your last conversation:
“Last time we spoke, you mentioned that your goal this quarter is to generate more leads…”
With this approach, your outreach comes off as consultative instead of sales-y.
Send email reminders
Always be sure to send a reminder at least 24 hours before your scheduled meeting. This is a simple way to give a nudge without being overly aggressive in your approach.
People are busy and your sales call isn’t going to be top-of-mind for them during a hectic work week. Sending a quick email with the calendar invite is a simple way to remind them of your upcoming meeting.
It also gives the buyer an opportunity to reschedule if they realize that they have a conflict. Re-scheduling isn’t ideal, but it’s much better than a no show. Many sales reps use calendar software to stay organized and keep track of upcoming reminders.
Getting ghosted by prospects is a harsh reality of working in sales. No matter how hard you try, it’s more than likely that there will be times when someone just doesn’t show up for a call and stops responding to your messages.
When faced with a prospect going dark, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean the deal is dead.
Persistence is key to an effective follow-up strategy. Try not to let yourself get discouraged by no-shows.
There’s always a reason why a buyer didn’t show up but don’t assume it’s because they’re not interested. Instead, assume they had another meeting or simply forgot. Hey, it happens!
Follow up with them until you get a response. If you still don’t hear anything after several attempts, it’s a good idea to stop reaching out.
There’s a fine line between being persistent and being pushy – finding a balance between the two is an essential sales skill.
Following up manually can be a tedious task, and that’s the exact spot where automation can help your business.
You can design a series of emails and set them on auto-pilot. We call it sales email sequence or sales cadence. A series of well-planted emails that will be sent according to your conditions. You can set up a specific time and template for each email, and you can also set the gap between two emails.
This is why Salesmate can be a tremendous choice for your business. Salesmate lets you create automatic email sequences that you wish, based on your rules and conditions!
Asking for a prospective buyer’s time is never easy, especially early on in the sales process when you have yet to establish rapport.
Keep these tips in mind next time you’re booking a follow-up call and remember that providing meaningful value should be at the center of your sales efforts.
The more value you communicate early on, the more likely a prospect will stick around and eventually become a customer.
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