By Michele Swetesich-Leon

As someone in the B2B community, I commonly hear concerns from business representatives that sales aren’t what they’d like them to be.  They often look to me for ways they can improve visibility to their target audience and build a positive reputation.  Ultimately this should get prospects connecting with them, phones ringing and increase their bottom line.  Makes sense, right?

Once the connection is made, it’s up to the sales person to do their job.  Since only “2% of sales are made on the first contact”, follow up is key.  With so many businesses concerned about decreased sales it might shock you to learn that “48% of sales people NEVER follow up with a prospect”.  That’s crazy!  On the other hand, I’ll bet it will surprise you that “80% of sales are made on the 5th to 12th contact”.  So, how often do you follow up with prospects?

Check out these sales statistics from the National Sales Executive Association.

Based on these statistics follow-up is extremely valuable.  I would say, and you can quote me, that “the true value of the follow up increases exponentially with each follow up”.  And yes, that’s a tweetable!

For years I fell into the 25% group.  I couldn’t get past the idea that following up more than twice was pestering someone.  Then a few years ago I saw sales statistics similar to the one’s I shared above.  The sales people around me who actually followed up three or more times found their efforts paying off.  I finally realized that following up multiple times wasn’t being a pest, but instead was a relationship nurturing exercise.  Ding, ding, ding, ding…I was already nurturing client relationships with email marketing.  It made sense to use it as a contact point and follow up tool with prospects.  This way I wasn’t just “checking in”, but also providing the prospect something of value.  The combination of follow up calls and email marketing is a winning combination.  If you’re not using email marketing to nurture your existing and prospective clients you’re seriously shooting yourself in the foot.  And when I refer to email marketing I’m not talking about sending random emails, I’m talking about having a strategic plan.  But, that’s another conversation all together.

Bottom line, there are no guarantees if or when you’ll get a sale, but the odds are in your favor if you persist in your follow up efforts.

I’d love to hear your take on this topic.

How do you handle following up with prospects?

What group from the sales statistics chart do you fall into?

Leave a detailed comment below and let me know.