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How to Avoid Sales Self-Sabotage: Following Up With Your Leads the Right Way

We’re going to look at how to avoid self-sabotage in sales today. This is one thing that many of us have done throughout our careers, and it is sabotaging our sales. It is a huge no-no, and a very dangerous and deadly thing for our businesses.

Here’s the situation: you receive a prospect or lead from a referral source, networking event/group, the internet, etc. You’re glad for the lead, but you’re busy. So you set it aside, and next thing you know, it’s been a day, two days, or even a week and you still haven’t contacted them.

Listen, in terms of speed, you must immediately touch base with the prospect or lead. Usually, if possible, I recommend a phone call if you have their number. Call within 2 hours of receiving the lead—that is so paramount and key. Now, I know you’re busy and you got stuff going on, but you can still do a quick follow-up. Keep the initial contact very simple. You might say, “Hey listen, I wanted to connect quickly. I got your information, and you’re important to me. I’m actually in between appointments right now, but can we talk in more detail later today?”

Basically, the first touch doesn’t have to be a long conversation, but it has to be immediate. Because they’re looking at the competition; they’re scouting different people who can provide the product or service they need. Most of the time, the first person to touch base will eventually get the business. So ignore yourself when you’re thinking things like, “I am too busy” or “I got too much going on” or “I’ll do that later.” Listen, later becomes a day or a week later, and turns leads from hot to warm to lukewarm to cold. To prevent that from happening, be sure to immediately follow up.

Next, let’s talk about tenacity. A lot of times, when you reach out to a lead, you don’t get ahold of them on the first try. Well, you need to schedule multiple follow-ups. Think about the different ways you can follow up with people. Everyone communicates in different ways. Maybe you start with a phone call, and use email as the second touch, send a text message next, etc. There are multiple ways to follow up, and I encourage you to look at them all instead of depending on just one avenue.

How many times should you follow up? Well, that depends on many different factors. Generally speaking, if it’s a qualified prospect, and there’s a reasonable amount of money to be made, I would suggest following up 5 to 9 times. If, on the other hand, the lead is unqualified or doesn’t represent a huge profit for your company, 1-4 times might be sufficient.

So just to recap, following up quickly and tenaciously will help you avoid sales self-sabotage. Go out and take action. Make it happen, have fun, and be courageous doing it.