Stop Annoying People By "Just Following Up"

by | 4 minute read

One of two things is usu­al­ly hap­pen­ing when I start work­ing with a client on follow-up. They are either not fol­low­ing up at all or they are fol­low­ing up like is it still 1982.

The top excus­es I hear again and again from pro­fes­sion­als and busi­ness own­ers are, I don't have time to fol­low up, or I am just too busy to do my follow-up. Real­ly, that busy? Too busy to fol­low up? That is non­sense. When some­one tells me they are too busy to fol­low up, what I hear is that they lack the dis­ci­pline to fin­ish what they start­ed. They would rather make excus­es than make sales.

There's no excuse for drop­ping the ball on poten­tial busi­ness. You lose mon­ey every day when you choose to neglect the follow-up. It is a cost­ly behav­ior.

There are many rea­sons why sales are lost. One of the biggest is improp­er or no follow-up. Fol­low­ing up is not option­al. It’s a crit­i­cal part of the sales process. Sad­ly, it’s become the most neglect­ed. Many peo­ple invest enor­mous amounts of time meet­ing with prospects, engag­ing in sales con­ver­sa­tions and prepar­ing pro­pos­als only to drop the ball on follow-up.

Why both­er to start a busi­ness, have a sales con­ver­sa­tion and meet with a new cus­tomer, then not be com­mit­ted and seri­ous about fol­low­ing up. What good excuse could you con­jure up to avoid follow-up and not com­plete the busi­ness you start­ed? Will­ing­ly let­ting your cus­tomers fall through the cracks is just bad busi­ness.

How much mon­ey is not fol­low­ing up cost­ing you? The art of follow-up is less impor­tant than the act of follow-up. Take action. You are either tak­ing action or mak­ing excus­es.

There is anoth­er side to the follow-up equa­tion. The basic and overused follow-up email you send to a prospect that goes some­thing like this, "Hi John, I just want­ed to fol­low up and see if you have any ques­tions from the pro­pos­al I sent?” Or, "Hi Susan, I want­ed to fol­low up with you to see when would be a good time to get start­ed on your pro­gram?” Or, "Hi Alex, I was just fol­low­ing up on our meet­ing last week.” And more monot­o­nous vari­a­tions like those.

Just fol­low­ing up, just check­ing in, or just touch­ing base, does noth­ing! They may make you feel like you’re mov­ing the sale for­ward. The truth is you have not. If “just fol­low­ing up” real­ly worked then why would you have to keep fol­low­ing up with some­one 10 or 12 times?

When you estab­lish the rules of the follow-up with a prospect, you will not have to fol­low up so many times. Ask your­self this: did I take the time to ask my prospect when we will con­tin­ue the con­ver­sa­tion, or what the next step looks like, or define how you will open­ly com­mu­ni­cate mov­ing for­ward. If you don’t estab­lish what hap­pens next or choose to skip this step, you will turn into the annoy­ing sales per­son who is “just fol­low­ing up.”

You can rad­i­cal­ly change the way your prospects inter­act and stay in touch with you. Change your approach, and you will change your results. Instead of using the same lan­guage as your com­pe­ti­tion, say some­thing dif­fer­ent. If you don’t, you will blend right in. So, avoid using, “I was just check­ing in, fol­low­ing up, touch­ing base, reach­ing out.” And, start say­ing, “The last time we spoke you men­tioned, or in our last con­ver­sa­tion you want­ed me to, or I was call­ing to pick our con­ver­sa­tion where we left off regard­ing…” Get cre­ative! Be dif­fer­ent! Stand out!

You can ratio­nal­ize you are too busy to fol­low up. You can tell your­self you are super busy and don’t have time. Only you know why you are choos­ing to con­tin­ue this behav­ior. Dig deep to find out why you let leav­ing mon­ey on the table become a bet­ter option than suc­cess­ful­ly com­plet­ing all steps of the sale.

A good follow-up sys­tem will gen­er­ate sales and keep your busi­ness more prof­itable. Cus­tomers respect busi­ness own­ers and sales­peo­ple who are effi­cient, orga­nized and ded­i­cat­ed enough to fol­low through in a pro­fes­sion­al man­ner. When you fol­low up pro­fes­sion­al­ly, you win cus­tomers. And you get an instant raise.

Liz Wendling is the author of two books (and count­ing) — The Unstop­pable Busi­ness Woman and Every­one Sells Some­thing, a colum­nist for Col­orado Biz Mag­a­zine, and one of the first nation­al­ly cre­den­tialed facil­i­ta­tors for Napoleon Hill Mas­ter­mind groups. Learn more at lizwendling​.com.

Liz Wendling
Liz Wendling, Sales Strate­gist and Social Sell­ing Coach assists indi­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies on how to make a pro­found dif­fer­ence in the way they sell and com­mu­ni­cate with their poten­tial clients. Her insight will get you sell­ing com­fort­ably and suc­cess­ful­ly. Peo­ple hire Liz to put their sales rev­enues back on track and start earn­ing the mon­ey they deserve and desire.people in dis­cov­er­ing their own sig­na­ture sell­ing style that is com­fort­able for them­selves and the cus­tomer. Her exten­sive busi­ness and sales back­ground and a pas­sion for help­ing peo­ple suc­ceed has led her to be rec­og­nized as one of the top sales and busi­ness coach­es around. Whether it is for one-on-one con­sult­ing, group coach­ing, mul­ti­ple day train­ing or work­shops, Liz will work with you to cus­tomize pro­grams around your spe­cif­ic needs, chal­lenges and objec­tives. She is enter­tain­ing, infor­ma­tive and fun and will push you to become your best.