Here’s a statistic I’ve been carrying around in my pocket lately:
80% of sales are made between the 5th and 12th follow-up.
And 44% of sales reps give up after just ONE follow-up.
Whether you’re a salesperson, an entrepreneur, a freelancer, a consultant, or heck, even a guy trying to sell a lawnmower on Craigslist, follow-up is vital to seal the deal.
So many of us think that the most important part of selling is what happens upfront. We spend hours of time writing our pitch emails, crafting beautiful sales pages and tweaking our products or services to perfection.
“If I can just get this one thing right,” we think, “the offers will come pouring in!”
Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. It’s what happens AFTER the cold call, the first pitch or the networking event that matters. What counts is how you keep the conversation going.
Think about it this way:
Let’s say you attend a networking conference. While you’re there, you talk to a representative from XYZ company about your cool new SaaS. The representative seems really interested, and he gives you his card and tells you to get in touch.
At the same event, the XYZ rep talks to 9 other people who are selling a similar SaaS, and he invites them all to get in touch.
After the conference, all 10 of you send a follow-up email to the XYZ rep. Unfortunately, he doesn’t respond to any of you. Nobody knows why.
5 of the SaaS’s decide that no response means “not interested,” and they never email him again.
3 SaaS’s decide to follow up one time. When they still don’t hear anything, they cross XYZ off their list for good.
1 SaaS follows up a few more times before they call it quits.
You follow up — AND DON’T GIVE UP — until you get a reply.
The reply comes three months later, when the XYZ representative tells you that his new budget has finally been approved and he can start looking into your product. He asks to set up a phone call.
At that point, you’re the only person who’s still getting in touch. You’re the only one in his inbox and on his mind. Who gets the business? You do. And it’s not because your product is better, or your website is fancier, or you’re a better salesperson. It’s because you were the most persistent.
That’s why my #1 networking strategy is: Be Persistent.
We may not be able to control a lot of things in life and business, but we can control our own tenacity. When you doubt yourself, dig down deep and do whatever it takes to keep going. Keep following up. Keep persisting.
These days, everyone has a product idea. Everyone sells consulting services. Everyone freelances. But not everyone is persistent…and the persistent people are the ones who win.
It’s a little bit like that old saying: “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” People are surrounded by distractions these days. You have to be get in touch and stay in touch if you want someone to pay attention to you amidst the noise.
I’m not suggesting you bother people who don’t want to be bothered. But you SHOULD keep reaching out until someone tells you, “No thanks, we’re not interested, leave us alone!” Sometimes I think we’d rather hear nothing at all than suffer through a rejection, but trust me — a rejection is 100% better than silence.
It might be uncomfortable for you to follow up more than you’re used to, but success doesn’t happen when you’re comfortable. It happens when you reach outside your comfort zone. When you persist through the challenges and push yourself to the next level. When you follow up five, ten, even twenty times. However long it takes to get that response.
Remember this mantra when you get stuck:
“Persistence beats resistance.”
One other thing. If you’re sending as many emails as you should be, it’s a crazy challenge to stay organized and remember who you should be following up with, and when. Messages get lost in your mailbox, you start to forget things and it’s hard to keep everything straight.
Fortunately, that’s one of the reasons I created TouchingBase.io — to make it easy for you to follow-up again and again until you close your sale or seal your deal. Without a system in place, it’s SO easy to talk yourself out of sending that email or forget you were supposed to send it in the first place.