You have given a successful pitch to a prospect and now it’s time to sit back and wait for the response. Sometimes, the prospect will come to you for the follow-up. However, more often than not, it is up to you to make the first move and initiate the follow-up with your prospect. This can be a daunting practice for even seasoned professionals, but you have nothing to worry about if you follow the steps we have outlined in this article. Follow these guidelines and soon you will be a pro at the follow-up!
Start with the prospect
This seems so simple, but it is a step that is often overlooked when it comes to new prospects (or even existing ones). Before ending communication, ask your prospect: what is the best way to follow-up with you? Is there something you would like to know when I follow-up? How can I help you when I follow-up with you? By asking the prospect first, you will avoid potentially annoying them with any follow-up and they will tell you the most effective way to follow-up with them. If your prospect always has an inbox full of emails, they will probably ask you to call them; if they are trying out a new product, they will probably want you to follow-up on how it works out for them. Asking your prospect how best to follow-up may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how often this valuable step can be overlooked.
Be clear and concise
When you follow-up with a prospect, you should always have a game plan in mind. Each follow-up should end with a goal for what the next step will be. If you are doing your initial follow-up, you should make sure to ask if they want to stay in touch in the future. If they have declined any additional follow-up, you will want to make sure to thank them and offer your contact information in the event they needed assistance in the future or want to connect professionally again. Following-up without knowing why you are really doing it or where you want it to head can stop any successful feedback and you may not get all of the answers you were looking for.
Whether it is your first follow-up with a prospect or your fiftieth, you would do well to keep a record of how the process is going. Keeping notes can keep you from repeating the same questions or comments over and over. You can also use these notes to improve your approach in the future, meaning more success for you. Don’t let what your prospect is telling you in one ear and out the other. Keeping notes as you follow-up keeps you accountable, focused, and helps keep you from rambling or repeating information.
Always have a reason
There is nothing more annoying than a general follow-up in the form of “just touching base”. If you don’t have anything worthwhile to ask or to add, it would be best to stay silent. Your reason doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. If your prospect received a service for the first time, you can follow-up to ask about their satisfaction and if they have any recommendations to improve that service. If your prospect had a problem in the past, you can follow-up with how you have addressed their concerns and thank them for bringing the issue to your attention.
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