The sale is closed, the check is in the mail, now what? Traditional sales wisdom suggests that a post sale follow-up emails are a must, but the wrong approach could undo your hard work. How can you avoid annoying or overstepping boundaries when you send a follow-up emails? Avoid these common errors and opt to be seen as a colleague and valued source of information as opposed to someone who is always asking for something.
Don’t send impersonal follow-up emails that read like MadLibs
Dear______, How Are you? I wanted to check in because_________.
Savvy buyers can spot a generic or spun email a mile away – at best you’ll simply annoy them, at worse, they’ll be insulted that you are treating them like a sales prospect instead of an individual. Ditch the Mad Lib style and stick with a sincere and helpful follow-up emails that actually adds value, even if you simply remind the buyer that you are there in the unlikely event that they need help with your product or service.
Avoid bombarding clients with overly frequent auto responders
Even if your message is well written and obviously tailored to your clients, overly frequent contacts can annoy the people you are actually trying to reach. Whether you are manually sending your own emails or using a well-written auto responder, limit your interaction. Not sure how much is too much? Enroll a trusted friend to receive your emails – if they tell you the frequency is annoying, lighten up. Too frequent emails do more harm than good, and your prospects will simply not bother opening any of your messages, or send them directly them to the spam folder.
Don’t assume you are friends and get too personal
Overly personal follow-up emails – avoid contacting your clients via their personal social media, LinkedIn or other personal account unless directly invited to do so. Being generic is bad, but inviting yourself into the personal life of your client is worse. Unless you are invited to do so, don’t friend, follow or cyber stalk your clients. While some folks won’t mind, others will likely be annoyed at the intrusion and block you (and your business).
Don’t keep selling (right away)
Sales people tend to focus on the close, and rightly so. Even though “Always Be Closing” is a common motto, it doesn’t apply to that freshly closed sale; aggressively attempting to re-sell a new customer almost always backfires. Immediately launching into another pre-sales or sales funnel follow-up is a mistake and could cost you in the long run. You’ve closed the deal and made the perfect match between your client and your product, so why undo it? If you immediately launch into another sales pitch for another product you run the risk of the client wondering why you didn’t just recommend the second item the first time around. Ideally you will have enough prospects that you can give your “just sold” clients some time to enjoy their purchases and build your relationship – before you launch into the next sales call.
Avoid asking instead of giving
If your follow-up emails are asking your client to perform a task, send you information or even get in touch, rethink your approach. Truly thanking your client is one thing and usually appreciated if it is sincere, but only if you can control yourself and avoid including another call to action or request. When you ask for more of the customer’s time, for them to visit your website, get in touch or perform any task, you are making a request instead of giving a gift.
A great follow-up emails offer something to the buyer, with no strings attached. It can be as simple as a link to an article on a topic you discussed or something of real value to the buyer or as elaborate as event tickets or an actual physical item. A simple thank you card, sent via regular snail mail, will make you stand out from the crowd in a good way, provided it expresses sincere thanks. Training your buyers to be happy when they get a contact from you is the best way to keep the sales flowing without aggravating or annoying them. Being the “lady who sends donuts” is a lot better than being “that saleslady who won’t stop calling”, and one of these ladies is going to be a lot more welcome in most offices.
While follow up is essential and regularly touching base with your customers will help you build your base, offering more than you ask for will ensure that your clients always have time for you. Focus on relationship building when you follow up and the sales will naturally follow.