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Do you spend enough time following up?

Aug 8, 2017

Cold_Calling_Apto_Best_Practices-320x213.jpgYou may already know that most brokers don’t spend nearly enough time prospecting—and we’re willing to bet that fewer spend time actively monitoring and following up on those leads.

But not following up or keeping in touch is like ordering a mouthwatering burger and then walking away from the table when it arrives. You can smell how good it’s going to taste, but you never actually take that first bite. The same goes for prospecting: you can almost smell how good that deal’s going to be if it materializes. But if you don’t follow up, you are literally leaving an opportunity on the table!

By now, you should have a consistent prospecting strategy. Next, make sure you’re finishing the job by following up strategically. Here’s how to do it:

1. Use technology to make follow-up simple.

Your CRM should make it easy to follow up consistently so that you don’t leave valuable possibilities on the proverbial table. You should be able to organize your contacts into categories that make sense for your business, and you should be able to easily set reminders for when you should reach out.

Get a demo of Apto Prospect & Nurture to make this process easier

2. Remember that you're actually helping the other person. 

If you’re worried about hassling your prospects, you can relax. When you follow up, just remember that your goal is to genuinely help the other person. And if your follow-ups are short and valuable, they’re often welcomed. Here’s why: people may be interested in what you have to offer, but they may not always get back to you right away, either because they’re too busy or have simply forgotten.

By following up and staying top of mind, you save your prospects the time it takes to remember where you were in the conversation, track down your contact details, and then compose an email or try to reach you on the phone. Follow-up takes all the burden of effort off your prospect and keeps the conversation going. In that way, it can be genuinely helpful and is often appreciated.

3. Follow-up as often as it takes to get a response.

If you’ve already connected with the prospect (for example, with an initial phone call, email or in-person meeting), then you can and should follow up as many times as it takes to get a response. When do you stop? Only when the person gives you a definite, “No, not interested.” Before that? Keep going. This is about pleasant persistence.

Never assume that the other person isn’t interested. That’s a rookie mistake! Some brokers will reach out once and then feel rejected if they don’t hear back from a prospect. Seasoned brokers know that if they don’t hear back, the prospect was probably just busy. It doesn’t take long for your email to get pushed to the bottom of a busy person's inbox, or your phone call to get lost in a string of other voicemails. Smart brokers don’t take any of this personally. They know that consistent follow-up gives busy prospects the opportunity to respond when they finally have a moment.

4. Follow up at a respectful frequency. 

Even though you should follow up as often as it takes to get a response, there’s a difference between calling someone every day and reaching out every few days, weeks, or months.

With follow-ups, you’re often walking the delicate line between being truly useful and being truly annoying. That has nothing to do with how often you follow up (see above). It does, however, have everything to do with the frequency of your follow-ups.

If you know your prospect’s constantly on-call and drowning in 8,000 emails, then don’t add to their chaos. Follow up in a way that respects their time, perhaps a week after initial contact and then spaced out a couple of weeks or a month after that. If you just closed a deal with a new client and want to keep in touch, then add them to your list of contacts to check in with once a quarter.

Remember: you can keep following up as often as it takes to get a response, as long as you do it in a way that respects the other person’s time.

5. Keep follow-ups short and valuable.

In an age of email overload, the nicest thing you can do for a person is to send them a one- or two-line message. That’s it. You want to make it simple for your prospect to respond, so long-winded paragraphs are out. You can say all you need in one or two sentences. If you can’t, practice. If you need more space and time, you can always set up a phone call or a meeting.

Finally, always offer something of value when you follow up. “Hey, just checking in” may work the first few times around, but it’s your job to give the other person something valuable each time they open your email or pick up your phone call. Can you share new market observations? Recommend an article or event they’d appreciate? Connect them to someone they’d like to meet? Get creative: there’s always something you can give.

We hope you’ve enjoyed these follow-up tips! What do you do to make sure you’re following up enough? Let us know in the comments; we would love to hear from you.

Topics: Best Practices

Irena Ashcraft

Written by Irena Ashcraft

Irena is a freelance writer who works with innovators, educators, explorers, and changemakers. From brave nonprofits to frontier-straddling startups, she helps clients connect with their biggest fans through writing that's fresh, relatable, and fun.

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