When to Follow-Up – Questions and Answers (Part 8 of 12)

So far we have talked about why we should follow up, who we should be following up with, so now let’s talk a little bit about when should you follow up.

How do you know when you are following up too much? Or not enough?  When should you start the follow up process? When should you call versus just sending an email?  When is email better than snail mail? When do you stop following up?

questions

1. How do you know when you are following up too much?

a.  This is rarely the case and I highly doubt this is your problem. I know this because I am constantly testing the boundaries of ‘too much follow up’ and I have yet to have a prospect or customer ask me to stop following up. In fact, just the opposite occurs. Most customers acknowledge my accutley named ‘pleasant persistance’ and comment on how they sure do wish their sales people were calling on their prospects as much as I call on them. This is how I win most of my business; I simply out follow-up my competition. I promise, the moment you start following up too much your people will be sure to tell you. Until then, game on!

2. When should you start the follow up process?

a.  When did you make the first call attempt? That is when the follow up process should ensue. The moment you start tryingn to make contact is the momentn you start following up and you don’t stop until they tell you no. Not, ‘no, not at this time’ – that person still needs to be followed up with. And not, ‘no, but keep in touch’ – they are asking you to follow up. And not, ‘no, just not right now’ – they are insinuating maybe in the future so unless you want to be forgotten you better follow up. You only stop following up when they say no thanks, not you, not never, not going to happen. Then you can stop – until future notice. You did find this prospect, don’t give up so easy.

3. When should you call versus just sending an email?

a.  I would say call first then send an email. Or send an email and then follow up with a  phone call. You do both. Some people are better reached by phone and some are better reached by email and then there are others who only respond to text!  Find out how they best process and respond to information and follow up via their personal preference. The last thing you want to do is spend all your time leaving messages when your customer never checks their voicemail or all your emails get spammed… just ask but when in doubt, do both.

4. When is email better than snail mail?

a. This depends on your end result in mind. What is your goal? A response or just information? In my opinion, regardless of whether or not you send an email or a physical piece of mail if you want a response you better follow up with a phone call. If you send mail, follow up with an email then a phone call. If you send an email, follow up with a piece of mail and a phone call. Bottom line, if a response is the end goal be prepared to follow up in various forms. If the goal is to just send information do both!  The time is minimal and it costs no extra to send an email so when you can always send an electronic version of your physical mailer.  When it comes to sending mass phsycial mail, make sure your message is clear, you target audience is specific, you have means to measure the results and you have an additional follow up plan in place. If you are simply sending a thank you message –  you will never beat a handwritten mailed thank you card. Always choose this option over a quick thank you via email!

5. When do you stop following up?

a. Ummm, tough one. I still follow up with prospects from 2009 so I may not be the best person to answer that question if you are looking for a specific timeline but we will discuss timeframes in upcoming chapters so stay tuned.

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