Blog Leadership

Following Up – Not Just For Sales

Introduction from TAPE’s CEO/President Louisa Jaffe: This guest post is an article by my friend and colleague Jane Lovas. I particularly like how clearly Jane explains that mastering sales techniques such as follow up is important for everyone, not just for people in sales or business development. As she writes, “Everything we do has an element of sales to it: if we want someone to do something for us, or buy something from us, we must sell them on the idea.”

I would love to hear what insights you get from reading Jane’s article.

Follow UP! A guest post by Jane Lovas

I want to share some interesting statistics, and also discuss what you can do avoid being a statistic.

First, the statistics:

  • 48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect.
  • Only 10% of sales people follow up more than three times with a prospect.
  • Only 20% of sales are made between the first and fourth contact

Last, but by no means least,

  • 80% of sales are made between the fifth and twelfth contact.

Based on these numbers, it’s pretty obvious that if we don’t follow up we leave connections and business on the table.

Whether you recognize it or not, you are a sales person. Everything we do has an element of sales to it: if we want someone to do something for us, or buy something from us, we must sell them on the idea.

Once you’re clear about your product, there are two factors in your control. One is your sales conversation and the other is consistent follow-up.

The basic approach to follow-up is pretty simple: (1) figure out who you want to follow up with, (2) identify 12 ways to follow up with them, and (3) do it. 

It’s that last step most of us find so difficult: yes it’s simple and no it’s not easy.

The challenge is to look yourself in the eye and ask “Why am I not following up?” Is it because I haven’t spent the time to think through my process? Is it because I’m telling myself “No one wants to work with me …”?

The first response involves a straightforward tactical activity: if you don’t know what your process is or should be, you can learn. Reach out for some help to create a process that you can follow.

The second response can be more challenging because we’re often reluctant to face up to underlying issues. Once we do, though, we can reach out for help to work through the limiting beliefs that are holding us back.

Following up is clearly a critical, ongoing activity and just as clearly can be a real challenge. Don’t let that challenge roadblock your success.

Jane works with CEOs, partners, principals and executives who are looking for clarity, focus and release. She is also the author of Put Your Big Girl Panties On and Kick Your Fears in the Ass and co-author of Seen and Sustained: Best Practices in Communication.Learn more at