Following up with prospects – Part 2 of 3: how long should you follow-up?
I give my healthcare telephone training workshop participants two simple rules to follow when considering how long they should follow up with prospects:
- until the prospect says “no, I don’t want your service / product”
- until the prospect dies
All kidding aside, with a product worth anything more than £1000, I advocate long-term follow up with prospects, because it works.
I recently ran a sales report from our CRM system which reveals that the youngest sales opportunity we closed in the last 3 years was 1 day (that means it took one day to take this opportunity from the first meeting to a signed contract).
The oldest sales opportunity was 355 days (yes, some prospects have taken over a year to buy anything from us).
We have opportunities in that report that haven’t closed in over 470 days (a few of which may never close), but they’re still in there, just to remind us to follow-up.
In some years, almost 20% of our income for the year from opportunities that took over 200 days to close.
The rewards of follow-up with prospects are worth the effort and then some
In healthcare clinics, I find that most prospective patients close within 3 months, followed by within 6 months, followed by within 12 months, and so on.
It only makes sense:
- you’ve paid good money for these people to find your needle in a haystack
- you’ve paid your staff to handle their initial calls and log them in your database
- there is sometimes an extra month’s worth of income out there that will convert only if followed up
- your competitors are following up
What did it cost to get additional income? A prospect follow-up system: a mix of phone calls, emails and letters over 12 months. It certainly doesn’t cost more than the income it creates. The bottom line is that follow-up allows you to make income sometimes even 18 months after the opportunity first revealed itself.
Would you like a chance to add an extra-month’s sales to your annual sales this year? Then follow-up!