Why following up is one of the key sales skills

- March 8, 2006 2 MIN READ

Are you regularly in touch with your clients and prospects? If not you could be missing out on valuable relationship building opportunities, not to mention sales! Following up is one of the essential business sales skills to produce sales growth.

Follow up is defined as the methods you use to keep in contact with your prospects, customers and referrers.

Why bother with following up?

Did you know that less than one in ten prospects will make the decision to buy on the first contact? In fact, according to a recent study by the Thomas Publishing Company, 80% of sales are only made on the 5th or subsequent contact. (And, most interestingly, 90% of sales people have given up after the third contact!)

Also, staying in touch with existing customers will result in increased business through repeat business, cross-selling other products and services and referrals to others.

And the great news for you is that very few people follow up properly or even at all!

How best to follow up?

This will vary according to your style, your prospect’s preferences, the time of year or where they are in the sales cycle. The main methods are via phone, post, fax or email.

Whatever methods you use, rather than only “chasing the sale” you should think about what valuable information you can give your contacts: send interesting tip sheets, special reports, thank you notes, news items they may be interested in and a regular newsletter.

How often to follow up?

This is a judgement call, but once a month is a good rule of thumb. Any more, and you could become a nuisance: any less, and you risk being forgotten.

Want more articles like this? Check out the sales strategies section.

Following up and profit

With proper follow up you can convert more prospects into clients, more clients into repeat clients, and increase your referrals.

To finish off this article here are some astounding statistics. A recent study by Performark (a USA research company) showed how few companies follow up properly or even at all. They found that out of 10,000 advertising enquiries made:

  • 22% of enquirers never received the information they requested
  • 57% received the information more than 65 days after their request
  • 87% were never contacted by a sales representative.

So with disciplined follow up, you can be way ahead of the pack!

Nat. Sales Executive Assoc. Survey (USA)

2% sales – 1st contact

3% sales – 2nd contact

5% sales – 3rd contact

10% sales – 4th contact

80% sales – 5th+

Are you doing enough to stay in touch? Add your comment to let us know.

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  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"