Following up and closing the sale are some of the most important skills in a salesperson’s arsenal, and it doesn’t have to be as pushy or high-pressure as you might think. The old-fashioned methods of selling are out, and relationship building is in.
When you’re waiting for a prospect to get back to you with a yes or a no, it can be tempting to “check in” as a way of reminding them about your product or service. But it’s not the only way to stay at the forefront of their mind, offering something of value is a much more successful way of converting a prospect into a client.
Instead of emailing your prospective client with a simple “I’m following up” or “Just checking in”, give them a reason to accept your proposal, or move them one step closer to making a decision with one of these fresh methods of following up:
Send a relevant article or blog post
Establish yourself as an expert on your subject and give your prospect a reason to trust you by sending them a blog or article you think they’ll find interesting. It can be one of your own or from an authority within your industry, either way it will act as a reminder and help to build your relationship.
Send some actionable advice
You probably have a few handy tips ready to pass on to your customers – try sending one of these to your prospect, as a courtesy. It’ll bring you to the forefront of their mind and remind them how helpful and generous you are, moving them one step closer to working with you.
Highlight a problem and how you can help
Did they mention an issue or obstacle they keep stumbling into in your initial conversation? Show off your listening skills by bringing up the problem and pointing out which of your products or services would be an ideal solution.
Suggest an opportunity
Let them know you’re still thinking about them by sending over a new opportunity you’ve heard about that you think would be perfect for them! Whether it’s a new product that has been launched or a government grant or loan they could benefit from, they’ll be glad you let them know.
Reach out on their social media
Our inboxes are constantly overflowing with sales emails and it can be difficult to be heard over all the noise. Find your prospect on social media – ideally Linkedin, but their company pages on Facebook or Twitter are great too – follow them and send a friendly message reminding them of your previous conversations.
Share an industry insight
Has a new study or report been released in your industry that your prospect may be interested in? Send it over with a personal note pointing our any particularly relevant or interesting points.
Invite them to an event
Do you host seminars and webinars, or exhibit at trade shows? Invite your prospect to your next upcoming event, give them VIP access or send a free ticket, something to show them how important your relationship is and make it harder for them to turn you down!
Send a case study or testimonial
If you’ve received a testimonial from a client with very similar issues to your prospect, paste it into an email and send it over with a message explaining how you helped (removing any private or personal information the client may not appreciate you sharing).
Share a potential source of customer hesitancy and explain why it shouldn’t stop them investing in their success
You’ve probably heard it all by now, and the same sticking points come up again and again. Choose one and give your prospect a brief explanation of why it’s worthwhile engaging your business. If it’s financial, you could compare the cost of your service to the time and energy they would spend doing it themselves, learning the basics, missing out on potential sales or time spent with their loved ones or enjoying their hobbies. It’s not a hard-sell tactic, just a gentle reminder of why they would benefit from your services.
Tell them you’ve been thinking about them
“I was just talking to a client and something they said reminded me of you,” or “I read an article this morning about your industry and it made me think about you”. It’s a way to open the conversation, to let the prospect know you haven’t forgotten about them and their individual issues amongst the many conversations with prospective clients you have every week.
Mention a mutual contact
Now that you’re following your prospect on Linkedin, scan your mutual connections until you find someone who is a genuine contact of yours. Then send your prospect a message to say you noticed you both know such-and-such and ask how they met, or even just say “small world!”. It will not only jog your prospect’s memory about you and your business, but it’ll boost your credibility if they can then ask the mutual contact about you.
Point out a competitor’s news
Use your prospect’s competitors as a tool for following up. Has one of your prospect’s competitors just taken on a big new client? Or maybe they’re in trouble with the tax man, or have merged with another firm? Show your prospect that you have your finger on the pulse of their industry and they’ll be one step closer to trusting you with their business.
Ask if they’re still aiming for a certain goal and remind them how you can help
Did they mention a goal they’re working towards in your initial conversation? We all have dreams and ambitions that we’d like to achieve, but it can be difficult to know how to reach them or which products or services could help. Use your knowledge and experience to describe how you could help your prospect achieve their goal and why you’d be the perfect partner on their journey towards success. They’ll be impressed that you listened and remembered, and they’ll be excited to reach for that big dream with your help.
Do you have any tried-and-true methods of following up with prospective clients that are more about relationship-building than the hardsell? We’d love to hear them, join the conversation on Linkedin.