The Follow-up Sales Call – Why, When, & How

Veronika Traublinger
November 5, 2019

Shockingly, nearly half of sales reps give up after the first no. We’ll explain why this is a big no-no and why you should always follow-up.

According to the Marketing Donut, 80% of sales deals don’t get closed until after the 5th follow-up call. And in practice, nearly half of sales reps give up after the first “no." So, having a persistent follow-up strategy already puts you ahead of competition and is crucial if you want to be successful in sales.

1. When is the best time to do a follow-up call?

Looking at these findings from the Lead Response Management Study, they found that you can increase your contact and qualification ratios up to 50% by contacting leads on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and avoiding Mondays. Also, try to avoid calling prospects in the middle of the day. First thing in the morning or late in the afternoon will bring you the most success.

But enough about the right day and time for sales calls. What we think is even more critical is the interval between the calls. In an ideal world, you've already set up a follow-up sales call in your first discussion with them. This would be the perfect solution as it allows you to actually get them on the phone, rather than having to leave a voicemail. The period between these calls should be no more than 1 week so you remain at the top of their mind and don't get pushed to the bottom of their to-do list.

A general rule of thumb is to keep your follow-up calls short – 30 minutes max – and really stick to that time frame. Try not to exceed this time and wrap up your call if you notice you're getting close to the time limit. It will demonstrate to the person you're talking to that you respect their time and will not take more of it than what you agreed upon.

2. How does a perfect follow-up sales call flow?

Every follow-up call should begin with an overview of what was discussed and already agreed upon during the last sales call. You should summarize key points and takeaways, and then present the goal of your current call. If you feel like you're repeating yourself, don't worry. It's likely that your prospect has a super busy schedule and has forgotten what you talked about last time. There's no harm in making sure you're all on the same page before you dive into new content, topics, and more information.

Another key aspect of a follow-up sales call is to get your prospect to do the talking. You know your conversation is going downhill if you're the one talking the whole time – it isn't about you! It's about your prospect, what they need, and how you can provide it. Ask guiding questions to uncover their pain points, current solutions, problems, and more. This is where you can really learn about the person you're talking to and find out how you can add the most value to their life! It also helps mitigate any misunderstandings you or they might have.

Finally, the key ingredient to a tasty follow-up call. Never hang up without agreeing on the next steps. It's like baking a cake and realizing you forgot to put sugar in it right as you're taking your first bite. Doesn't taste so good. There are different forms that a next step can take – an in-person meeting, a product demo with more stakeholders involved, a free trial, etc. Once you have defined what's next and do finally hang up, send a quick email to those who you were speaking with on the follow-up call and restate what you talked about. Putting it down on (virtual) paper allows both sides to be clear on what is expected of everyone and leaves little room for loopholes.

Persistence is crucial for being a successful sales rep. Especially in B2B, sales is about having strong relationships with your prospects and customers.

3. Why is doing a follow-up sales call even important?

As stated at the beginning, 80% of sales deals don’t get closed until after the 5th follow-up call. That stat alone should show you why following-up is so important! But in addition to this, there are a few more reasons and statistics about why it is super important in sales:

  • Makes your customers feel appreciated and valued
  • 63% of people requesting information on your company today will not purchase for at least three months – and 20% will take more than 12 months to buy. (Source)
  • Establishes rapport for you and your business
  • If you aren't able to close the deal, you are able to ask a question to get feedback on how you can improve for the next prospect (like this guy does).

There definitely are more reasons why following-up is so vital for customer success and sales. It is typically clear to each person who works in sales that following-up multiple times is the key to closing deals. And if you need help keeping track of all your calls and follow-up appointments, check out Ciara, your digital assistant, here.

If you want some more tips on how to make perfect sales calls check-out our free sales call cheat sheet collection! Download the guide to get pre and post-call checklists, a perfect structure for all your sales call (including the follow-up call), best practice questions, and talking points.