Following up on sales outreach… Prospects aren’t replying to your emails? They’re ignoring your LinkedIn messages? Your calls are going to voicemail?

Prospecting in 2023 takes work.

Response rates dropped across the board, but your sales targets have not.

It’s way cheaper to sell more to the same client than to gain a new one.

The same applies to prospecting.

Capitalising on the same prospect is more effective than starting over from scratch.

In this article I’ll discuss following up on sales outreach to get more responses.

It will make you uncomfortable and likely feel like you’re “bothering” people.

That feeling reminds you that you’re learning a new skill.

YOU CAN FOLLOW UP SEVERAL TIMES WITHOUT BEING A STALKER.

Today’s takeaways:

  • The psychology of the follow-up
  • The data behind it
  • The framework
  • Multi-channel use

THE PSYCHOLOGY

I always like to explain the psychology behind an activity.

The more you understand it, the more likely you will apply it.

A lot in sales feels like you’re bothering people.

BUT:

  1. Prospects forget about you faster than a goldfish. Stop sweating; you are not that important in the prospects’ life.
  2. Following up on sales outreach shows value in your offer. No follow-up means your offer is not worth the time. The more you persevere, the more you communicate your value.
  3. Persistence is respected. Most decision-makers worked hard to get where they were. You wouldn’t believe the number of times that, after my 6th, 7th follow up, the prospect was impressed with my tenacity.
  4. 99% of the time, the worst-case scenario is that you’re ignored. Prospects rarely have the time to get pissy, don’t worry about what can go wrong, focus on what can go right.
  5. Multiple follow-ups will get you clear nos. Knowing where you stand is better; keep following up until you get a no or a meeting.
  6. Multiple follow-ups will build familiarity. People buy based on trust; familiarity is the stepping stone preceding trust.
  7. Multiple follow-ups mean more yeses. The fundamental result is that you will get more meetings.

Let’s look at the data.

THE DATA

Does following up work?

You don’t have to listen to me; you can trust our friend ChatGPT

PS: You’re in trouble if you’re not using her to research.

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Feel free to run more in-depth research, but you can see the importance is clear.

How much should you follow up?

Here’s again a nice recap from our friend:

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The bottom line is: maximise the number of touches before pissing off your prospects and hitting diminishing returns.

THE FRAMEWORK

“Any thoughts?”

“I wanted to touch base.”

“I wanted to bump this up.”

PLEASE STOP THIS CRAP.

Yes, it was working (poorly) until 2-3 years ago.

But it’s not anymore.

When you’re following up on sales outreach, you need to help the prospect answer a fundamental question:

Why should I care?

If you cannot answer that question, you’re in trouble.

The key is RELEVANCE.

What pain/outcome did you initially reach out about?

Reference back that pain.

Example: As Q1 was tough for most players in HR Tech, I assumed an audit of your sales performance would be helpful.

Was I mistaken?

You are not following up because you want an answer but because you can help.

That’s a massive switch.

Another great addition is personalisation (always with Relevance) if you have the capacity.

Example: I noticed you’re growing your sales team, so I thought auditing your current sales material would be helpful.

Is that not the case?

Personalisation + Relevance is a winning combination.

My favourite methodology when it comes to email follow-up is:

  1. Pain/outcome-driven outreach + relevant follow-up
  2. 2nd pain/outcome driven outreach + relevant follow-up
  3. 3rd pain/outcome driven outreach + relevant follow-up
  4. Break up email

This is a 7-step sequence.

I corroborate this with calling, LinkedIn, SMS and WhatsApp.

If you’d like to learn more about Multi-Channel, feel free to read this previous article.

Task: Draft a multi-step sequence to ensure a high volume of touches. Add many steps at the beginning; you can always scale back later.

MULTI-CHANNEL:

There is one final trick.

Using multiple channels.

Many of you will prefer one medium over the others.

Calls, emails, LinkedIn etc.

Until six months ago, I was purely a cold caller.

I then realised I should learn how to write emails.

Just adding one channel meant my meetings went through the roof.

I’mI’mw in the process of mastering LinkedIn (stay tuned for more on the topic).

However, multi-channel goes beyond.

Don’t just focus on voice and the written word.

You can now implement images and videos. I’ve recently started to add pictures to my email sequence.

And I’ve begun sending videos via email and LinkedIn.

These are different ways to build familiarity with your prospects.

Make them laugh with a meme.

Make them feel special with a personalised video.

Your goal is to build familiarity so that trust will come.

Task: Add images and videos to your sequences and keep track of response rates. If not possible, experiment with other channels.

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