Following up on lukewarm sales leads is one of the most unpleasant tasks in all of sales. Even if the prospect has some interest, there are a lot of things working against the salesperson:
- The timing may not be right.
- The prospect may have a strong existing relationship with a competitor.
- The prospect may simply not like talking to salespeople.
- Something in the salesperson’s follow-up process is turning off the prospect.
A telltale sign of follow-up problems is when salespeople feel as though they are pestering the prospect. How many email follow-ups is too many? Too few? Too often? Not often enough? How many times can you leave a voicemail? What is the right thing to say when you leave a voicemail?
All of these questions are tough to answer because they generally boil down to guesswork. Here is a question I learned a long time ago that removes a lot of the guesswork and makes follow-up a whole lot easier and more effective:
What is the best way for me to follow up with you on your inquiry?
If you can get the prospect to answer that question, to give you his or her blueprint for following up, you are much closer to making a sale than you’re likely to get through guesswork.
The question allows the prospect to tell you how to proceed. This is good because, if you follow the instructions, you certainly can’t be accused of pestering anyone! In addition, the question gives the prospect a sense of control over the sales process, which always makes the purchaser more comfortable.
The challenge, of course, is to get the prospect to answer the question. The best options are face to face or on a phone call, but even if email is the medium, I’ll wager a prospect is more likely to answer a simple, straightforward business question like that one versus responding to an email sales pitch.
Give it a try. It may just save you a lot of time, and fill that lead pipeline more quickly.