Sales Coach: Just Following Up

sylviaThere wasn’t a lot of sophistication in my early sales process — mostly brute force calling, ham-fisted product demos, and a nag-until-they-say-yes closing strategy.  This required a lot of “follow up” on my part:

    • Just emailing to follow up on our call…
    • Checking in to follow up to find out if there are any updates…
    • Following up to see if you talked to your colleague…
    • You get the idea because you’re probably guilty of this.

Even though the results were pretty good, it makes me cringe to think about how annoying I must have been.  But that doesn’t justify the process.

If you’re “just following up”, you might be doing more harm than good.  You’re annoying the prospect, wasting your time, and fooling yourself that your “activity” equates to “work”.

Instead of checking in or following up, challenge yourself to ensure that every call or email in your sales process advances your agenda and does so in service of the prospect.  This is very, very hard to do, but here are a few habits you can develop that will solve 80% of the problem:

1. Have a goal for every call.

Your goal might be to qualify the prospect, to complete a demo, to agree on pricing, to get an intro to a deal influencer, or to get a verbal agreement.  Or anything else that moves the process forward.  Never pick up the phone without a clear objective.

2. State your goal to the prospect in the call.

Explain very clearly to the prospect what you hope to accomplish in your call and frame it in terms that create value for them:

“My goal for this call is to show you how RevBoss can help you improve your sales prospecting output.  At the end of the demo, I’ll ask you if I’ve done my job so you can decide if we should schedule trial on-boarding call.  Sound good?”

When the prospect says “yes”, you’ve got permission to proceed, you’ve set the terms for the call, and you’ve setup your close.

3. Close every call with a clear next step.

If you’ve done Steps 1 and 2, you can close the call by letting the prospect agree to the next step you’ve already defined — ideally a next phone call that you schedule together while you’re still on the phone.  The buyer agrees to move your process forward for you…and you’ve already defined the goal for your next call.

In some cases, the prospect might say something like “give me a call if you haven’t heard from me in a week”.  In these cases, confirm that you’ll call her if you haven’t heard anything in a week and then set a reminder for a perfectly justified, well-earned “follow up” call.

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