Too Much Follow Up?

When I’m coaching sales training I talk a lot about the importance of follow up.

That’s because it makes a difference.

As a salesperson if you actually follow up with prospective clients, you’ll be well ahead of your competitors.

That’s because most salespeople either don’t follow up at all, or they only follow up half-heartedly.

And 67% of all statistics are made-up on the spot, but there’s still a valuable lesson here

But is it possible to follow up too much?

You can absolutely follow up too much. Follow-up is like closing, in that if you do it at the wrong time you’re not going to be successful. For example:

I get a lot of unsolicited product pitches in my work email.

Most of them are garbage: copycat offshore manufacturers offering knockoff products none of us are interested in.

Still, something interesting occasionally hits my inbox. For that reason, I do skim the product spam I get before deleting it.

This week, among the usual crop of garbage pitches was one email that presented a product that was indeed new and different.

I’m not saying that we’re necessarily interested in carrying it, but I did think it was interesting, so I forwarded it to our company directors and said as much, in case they thought so.

Not thirty seconds after I hit send on my forward, the person who emailed me the pitch hit my inbox with a second email:

Lee, could you please give me some feedback on my product?

Okay, that’s creepy.

I don’t know how he did it; how he was aware that I had forwarded his email. What sorcery is this?

Within about ten minutes, I had convinced myself that it was just a coincidence.

That’s when he sent me a request to connect on LinkedIn.

Woah, partner. That’s a little too much, too fast.

As always, we can look to Letterkenny for valuable life lessons.

From my perspective as a prospect, as opposed to being the salesperson, this just annoys me.

If your follow up is so fast and furious that it makes prospects put you on Ignore, try being less quick on the trigger.

Counterpoint: Old School sales managers will tell you “You haven’t followed up hard enough until they’ve filed a restraining order against you!” Your mileage may vary.

Lee Distad

About Lee Distad

Lee Distad is a rAVe columnist and freelance writer covering topics from CE to global business and finance in both print and online. Reach him at lee@ravepubs.com

  • I thought Linkedin is good for sales since everyone is one connection away. Have to reduce my connection requests.

  • Jeremy Birch

    Lee, I’m betting your over-zealous salesman at the other end of that email wasn’t even in front of his computer when he sent you those electronic follow-ups. Most likely he used a scripting service like http://www.ifttt.com (If This, Then That) to automatically send you that email response and LinkedIn request…both triggered by a read receipt. No sorcery involved here, Mr. Potter.

    That said, I think your “Sales Statistics” infographic clearly shows the advantage of diligent follow-up. There is a wide gulf between our natural ability to follow-up vs. the massive quantity of touch points required to cut through the noise our potential clients, like all of us, struggle with in this modern era. To that end, modern marketing tactics like a “drip” email campaign can help, but it has to have a natural cadence and provide lots of value before EVER asking for anything…much less a sale.

    Business relationships are like interpersonal ones. You can’t expect to date someone the first time you meet them, and you sure as hell won’t get married after just the 1st date.