In May 2014 John Barrows – a sales trainer for companies like Salesforce, Box, LinkedIn, Marketo, Zendesk – posted the following advice on follow-up in SalesHacker :
Question: How do you follow up effectively with a potential client without being annoying?
1. Ask for guidance on the best way to follow up with them while adding value and not being annoying. You know who does know how to effectively follow up with the client? The client. Ask them.
2. Ask what their preferred form of communication is and if they will respond. This is different than asking them about the best way to follow up. This is about their preferred form of communication and getting them to commit to a level of responsiveness. I literally ask people – “what is your preferred form of communication moving forward here? Is it cell, e-mail, text?”
3. Make sure you always end each conversation with a clearly defined next step. It kills me how often I see sales reps get off the phone after a good conversation with a prospect without a clearly defined next step scheduled on the calendar. The easiest time to get a commitment on a next meeting is at the end of the meeting you just had.
4. Summarize your conversations and get written confirmation. At the end of every decent conversation, I always send an e-mail that summarizes what we talked about and asks for their confirmation.
5. Always have a reason to reach out and never just call to ‘touch base’ or ‘check in’. I am on a personal crusade to get ‘touching base’ and ‘checking in’ out of the vocabulary of sales professionals.