Why You Shouldn't Need To Follow Up

So you've had the first call or meeting with your dream client. What's the fastest way to know if you did great? If you don't need to follow up.

If you think you need to follow up, one or both of these things are true:

  1. You didn’t gain a commitment at the close of the meeting; or
  2. You accepted a non-commitment or a soft commitment believing it was a next step.

Let's take a closer look at each one of them.

You Didn’t Gain A Commitment

It's your responsibility in a sales call:

  • To set the agenda.
  • To ask if they need something else from you.
  • And to tell them what you think will follow the chat.

You know better than your prospect what they need to to do next. You sell what you sell to many companies and have much greater experience delivering the outcomes they need. Most of the time, they don't even know how you can make their lives better.

For these and many other reasons, you have the responsibility to control the sales process.

You should be able to identify straight away if the prospect is not a fit. If that's the case, there's no point for any of you to schedule another call or action. You will thank the prospect for his time, share relevant resources (if you have any), and potentially come back to nurture the contact in a few months time.

But if you see the prospect is indeed a potential client, you need to obtain a commitment. You have to secure the next meeting at the end of each meeting.

If you need to follow up, you didn’t gain the next commitment when you had the chance to do so. Now you need to chase them. And as Jeb Blount says, “things that get chased tend to run.”

You Accepted A Soft Commitment, Or A Non-Commitment

The lack of commitments is a result of your failure to control the sales process. But accepting "any" commitment is just as bad.

When someone asks you to call them back in two weeks, you have made a commitment. The prospect, however, hasn't made any.

Actually, they made just the opposite. By asking you to follow up with them, they have avoided making any commitment at all. They did NOT commit to:

  • Taking your call
  • Answering your email
  • Scheduling another meeting

As Anthony Iannarino puts it, "Is it a wonder you have to chase?"

A soft commitment doesn't work as well. "I'll call you in 2 weeks" will get you nowhere. The reality is that they're busy, and unless you're a priority you'll get no attention.

If the prospect needs more time, ask for smaller but more concrete commitments.
Instead of scheduling a long call with all the partners, propose a 15 min chat to share some industry insights and how they affect their business.

This will keep the conversation going, and will give you more time to understand and build trust with prospects.

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