As a business development manager, I can attest to how crucial follow-ups are to success in this area. After all, it takes a lot of effort up front to generate qualified leads. It is therefore important to maintain a good relationship with them. Although there are many ways to keep in touch, email remains an effective way to stay in the minds of our contacts, and ultimately, to generate more sales. Here are 5 tips for effective follow-ups.
1. “Timing is everything”
I hope you’ll forgive me for using this cheesy saying, but I can’t think of any other way to express how crucial it is to follow up at the right time. For example, following an initial contact, it is good practice and often appreciated to send a thank you email to the prospect, with next steps, if applicable. This good practice is unfortunately often avoided, and yet it has a great influence on the perception of our interlocutor. It’s a simple gesture that can pay huge dividends for your mutual relationship in the long run.
2. Keep your commitments
Have you ever committed to a deadline that you knew was completely unrealistic for your schedule, in order to accommodate a colleague or client? While this is not generally recommended, it is even less so when it comes to follow-up with a prospect. After all, the prospect does not yet have a business relationship with you and your company, and the bitter taste of a late follow-up could stick in their craw for a long time. Ideally, the best practice would be to manage their expectations in advance. However, if you are unable to meet the deadline for the next follow-up involving an action on your part (for example, sending a service offer), it is important to communicate this. As the saying goes: a fault confessed is half redressed.
3. Be genuine and constructive
In almost every networking workshop I’ve attended, it’s been hammered home that you have to give first to get. I would say that the same principle applies when following up. Indeed, by engaging your prospect in conversation, with the primary goal of helping them with empathy, you will forge a bond that may naturally advance the relationship, and eventually, increase the chances of doing business together. In addition, this approach has the effect of building a bond that is more natural and less transactional. By taking a few minutes to do some research on your contact and his or her company, or field of business before making contact, you will differentiate yourself from those who do not bother to make the extra effort. When the time comes to make a decision, your client will remember this delicate attention.
4. Have a memory like an elephant (or take notes)
It is important to always keep in mind that you are not the only one trying to capture your prospect’s attention. Thus, you have to be creative to stand out from the crowd, not only from your competitors’ emails, but also from the incessant batch that populates your contact’s email box. If you have a CRM, don’t hesitate to take note of the information your prospects give you such as the name of their pet, their favorite hobby, or anything else that can show that you are really paying attention. You will then have an opportunity to create a report, by asking, during your next follow-up, how was the entry of the youngest at the daycare, to give an example.
5. Get the tools to make your life easier
As a HubSpot Diamond Partner, it is obvious that we use this tool ourselves at Parkour3. I have to admit that it makes my life easier when it comes to tracking. First of all, the fully customizable sequences ensure that I won’t miss any follow-ups. By determining in advance that emails will be sent on a fixed date, while being able to customize the message of each email, I can rest easy knowing that I won’t forget any follow-up.
Another feature that I particularly appreciate is the fact that I can generate a reminder in the body of an email message, without even leaving my Gmail or Outlook box. So, instead of sending an email, and then creating a task in my calendar for the follow-up, I just have to check the box, choose the date and add a note if needed. Managing follow-ups in one place saves me precious time that I can invest in other more productive tasks.
There you have it, now you know my tricks to ensure effective follow-up emails.