Some studies estimate that 81% of sales happen after the fifth contact.
But the majority of sales professionals admit they follow up with new prospects an average of 0 to 2 times. It's no wonder their follow up efforts show such meager results.
The most successful salespeople, the ones who break sales records year after year, follow up continuously.
How? They have a system, and they stick to it.
Having a system allows them to efficiently manage a large database of contacts, without wasting a lot of time managing the follow ups. Maintaining their system ensures no step in the process falls through the cracks.
What makes a good follow up system you'll stick with?
Any system you use for managing your contacts needs to be:
- Replicable, for any type of contact.
- Automated, so you don’t have to think about it.
- Scalable, so it won’t break down when your pipeline grows larger.
- Comfortable, so you won't quit.
How do you spend your time?
The best system is going to be one that you design, for your business, to complement your working style, and one that you will maintain. So the tools you already use to manage your time and tasks will be the foundation for your follow up system.
- How do you schedule appointments? On a calendar on the wall? On your computer? In the cloud?
- How do you create reminders for actions you need to take in the future?
- How do you know what to work on during any given day?
Using these tools, create your follow up workflow. Keep in mind that your system is essentially you speaking to yourself across the past and the future. What's the best way you'll listen to yourself?
Let's get specific.
When you get someone’s business card, what are the follow ups you'll want to automate?
A good follow up workflow could be:
- Send a thank-you card, saying ‘nice to meet you’ - 24 hours after first contact
- Email introduction - 1 week later
- Phone call - 1 month later
- Send an email scheduling a meeting (either one-on-one or an invitation to an event) - 3 months later
- In person meeting - 3-4 months later
- Send a ‘Nice to meet you’ email - same day
- Send an issue of email newsletter - same week
- Phone call - 10 days later
- Phone call - 45 days later
- Email - 60 days later
- Send an email - next day
- Send an email newsletter issue - 3 days later
- Send a promotional email - 10 days later
- Phone call - 15 days later
- Coupon postcard - 30 days later
Notice something similar about all of these check-ins? They're all calculated from the date of the meeting, or the date of the contact’s addition to your database.
This is because your follow up system should rely on one input. Entering your contact's data initiates the follow up process. If you schedule these events in your task manager, they will pop up on the correct day, and all you have to do is follow the instructions you gave yourself earlier.
Using your follow up system.
You might be comfortable using your Google calendar or software like Evernote to keep yourself on track, but if you like using a paper-based system, try a Tickler File. This consists of a drawer full of 43 folders, one for every day of the month (31), and one for every month of the year (12).
Put a note for your contact into each appropriate file. When the day comes up, take out all your notes, and followup with all of those contacts.
The easiest follow up system, of course, is to automate all of those emails at once, so you don’t have to write them out on the day they are sent. Using Ace of Sales, you can schedule a ‘Nice Meeting You Email’ and a ’60-day follow up email’ at the same time. Two months later, your new contact gets the check-in without your lifting a finger.
Use your Sales Calendar in Ace of Sales to schedule follow up calls and meetings. We'll send you a reminder by email each day you have a task to do!
Whatever follow up system you use, if you set it up smartly and stick to it, you'll see the results - not only in the number of sales you close, but in how much time you'll save!