How Many Follow Ups Does It Take To Make a Sale?

Sales isn’t for everyone. Why? Because most people don’t like constant rejection. But sales people eat it for breakfast.

There are too many variables beyond the salesperson’s control to let a few “No’s” get them down. Maybe the buying cycle isn’t right. Maybe they’re just hearing about the product for the first time and haven’t quite warmed up to it yet.

Whatever the case may be, salespeople are evolutionarily developed with thicker skin to help them wade through a sea of “No’s” to get you new business.

But how many follow-ups and “No’s” does it take to get to that sale?

What the Numbers Say

As a salesperson, and especially as a new salesperson, following up with customers can be intimidating. You don’t want to feel like you’re harassing them, and it’s difficult to determine who’s saying no because they don’t want the product or service, and those saying no because they don’t have enough information yet.

But follow-ups, if done right, can be an insanely competitive edge and help you ditch your shot gun sales approach.

Two statistics I came across genuinely blew my mind, and these numbers will tell you a lot about your performance:

1.) 44% of salespeople polled said they give up after just one follow-up
2.) 80% of sales completed required five follow-ups

To put things into perspective, this means 44% of salespeople are putting in one-fifth of the effort needed to make a sale.

One email, and they call it a day. Yikes.

But I’ve come to learn that the real problem lies with the fact that many salespeople either don’t know how to follow up, or don’t have enough strategies to do it effectively.

If you fall into either of those camps, here are some strategies we’ve implemented that have tripled the likelihood we’d get a response:

1. Perfect Your Timing

Timing is one of the most important aspects of following up because you’re highly unlikely to sell something to someone who isn’t ready to buy.

Customers buy on their own time. Therefore, you have to follow-up continuously to keep checking in with them to see if they’re ready to make the purchase.

Research, gather data, and test. There are a ton of free online resources and articles from companies who have tested best days and times to follow up and send emails.

2. Talk To Your Marketing Team (They Don’t Bite)

Mostly.

In too many companies, the marketing team and sales team stand on opposite sides of the room, arms folded, refusing to dance.

No longer.

Marketing generates leads. Sales closes on the leads. However, the more effective way to work is to integrate these two teams deeply. By creating follow-up processes with both marketing and sales in mind, strategies coalesce and valuable conversations (that wouldn’t otherwise take place) start to happen.

Maybe the marketing team is sipping champagne because they got your sales team 50 new “quality leads” last month, but the sales team isn’t going to hit goal because the “quality leads” were mostly junk.

If a conversation never happens, marketing will never know they might need more qualifying material included in their outreach strategy so they can set their sales team up for better meetings.

3. Keep Track of Customer Data

Little out there is more important than keeping a healthy, detailed customer database. Contact data, prospect data, order and billing information, and anything else that you can gather on your customers and potential customers is gold.

This data can then be organized into meaningful categories to help you create highly customized strategies. If you think everyone on your mailing list wants to be talked to the same way, you’re wrong.

Create intelligent client segments and customize your outreach accordingly.

4. Educate Your Customers

Your customers can’t buy from you if they don’t even know what they’re buying. They also aren’t going to buy from you if you just keep shoving the same old stuff at them day after day.

It’s so important to continuously help your customer see your products in new ways. Show them numerous perspectives on how your products can add value to their lives.

Changing Up Your Approach

Sales has always had its challenges, and it’s only going to get more difficult as access to products and data becomes more ubiquitous.

That’s exactly why it’s becoming increasingly important that you develop new, effective ways to stay top-of-mind for potential customers.

Perfect your timing, research your channels, communicate internally, continue to educate your customers, and you’ll be surprised at just how many are ready to pick up the phone.

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