1) Be concise and precise with your follow-up.
I was guilty of breaking this rule. As a sales person, I felt the need to be very formal with my clients. Whenever I emailed them, I wrote lengthy messages just to subtly imply I needed their feedback. I used to beat around the bush too often, just to avoid offending them.
The difference between my former self and those who successfully close deals is they have the confidence to be casual and straightforward. They can even send just one short message to make a point, which goes something like, “Hey, how are you doing? Are you available for a call?”
2) Don’t be needy and emotional.
Afraid of sounding too desperate, I used to think twice before sending a follow-up message. “Is it too soon?” “Would he/she get annoyed?” “Are they not interested in the deal anymore?” Thoughts like these used to circulate my head, that I just forgot following up at all. I was discouraged. I discouraged myself – and I had regrets.
Little did I know that some of them were really waiting for my follow-up.
3) Avoid making the person you’re following up with feel guilty.
I might have also said something along the lines of, “If you cannot reply, please call me at…” or “Please reply asap…” Even if the matter is really urgent, this is a very big no-no. Reading back my previous messages similar to these ones, I realized that I would have gotten so pissed off if I were in their shoes. I might not have even replied. If you think you’re not making this mistake, read your follow-ups again and place yourself in their shoes. Do you think you’re not making them feel guilty?
4) Follow up more frequently at the start, and then gradually do it less.
Previously, I had a client who didn’t respond to any emails, calls, or texts for a month – true story. During the second week, I was advised to gradually lessen the follow-ups; two to three times a week, followed by once a week, and so on. I nearly gave up. After a month, I was able to contact him. He said he was very busy that time he couldn’t reply. But even after all those numerous follow-ups, he asked me to send him a proposal.
The point is to continue following up, even if you think there’s no chance of him/her replying back. You may think this is irritating for your clients, but sometimes what you’re thinking isn’t necessarily right. Relieve yourself of all the unnecessary doubts, and just follow up!