Avoid This Phrase When Following Up

by | 2 minute read

Sor­ry, to both­er you…” How many follow-ups have you begun with this phrase? You may be sur­prised that it’s a phrase you should actu­al­ly avoid. For Meg Prater, say­ing this is a bad habit. “When you've been in sales a while, it's easy to devel­op bad habit,” she writes in a post for Hub­Spot. “You pick them up from oth­er reps or take a short­cut dur­ing an espe­cial­ly busy week and, all of the sud­den, you've added some skills to your reper­toire that aren't help­ing you meet your quo­ta.” But, it’s nev­er too late to break a bad habit, and cut­ting this phrase from your con­ver­sa­tions can change how prospects per­ceive, and respond, to you.

First, Prater wants reps to under­stand why this phrase is so bad. It implies:

  • you feel you’re an annoy­ance.
  • you’ve done some­thing wrong.
  • des­per­a­tion.
  • your time and ener­gy aren’t as impor­tant as the prospect’s.

Instead, con­sid­er an alter­na­tive follow-up strat­e­gy:

Reference a mutual connection.

Start the dia­logue by point­ing out that you and the prospect have a col­league in com­mon. First and fore­most, it gives you some­thing to instant­ly bond over and encour­ages a con­ver­sa­tion. Also, as Prater points out, it might encour­age more trust from the prospect.: “It sig­ni­fies that if a friend works with this sales rep, the prospect might also enjoy work­ing with the same sales rep.” You imme­di­ate­ly set a foun­da­tion for trust and form a con­nec­tion sim­ply by using this tac­tic.

Don’t talk shop.

Go in a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent direc­tion by not men­tion­ing busi­ness dur­ing a fol­low up. Instead, start a con­ver­sa­tion about a top­ic that you know inter­ests the prospect, or men­tion a hob­by or oth­er out-of-office inter­est. “Once you have them engaged again, use your best judge­ment to steer them back to the top­ic at hand: your offer,” she explains.

Check out her entire arti­cle for oth­er great alter­na­tives, and don’t be afraid to try them out the next time you need to fol­low up!

Jessica Helinski

Jessica Helinski

Jes­si­ca is a senior research ana­lyst for Sales­Fu­el focus­ing on sell­ing to SMB deci­sion mak­ers. She also reports on sales and pre­sen­ta­tion tips for Sales­Fu­el and Media Sales Today. Jes­si­ca is a grad­u­ate of Ohio Uni­ver­si­ty.