Sales and business partnerships aren’t made in one conversation.
This is why we have the pitch follow-up. Follow-ups are a chance to reach out and reconnect with a potential customer or business partner after you first meet.
Follow Up Best Practices
Before you invest a lot of time in someone, make sure they’re someone who has decision-making power in their organization. If they’re not, find out who is the right person to get in touch with and devote more time to them. Don’t drop your first contact, though. It’s important to know someone inside the company and to grow your own personal network.
How often you follow up with someone depends on their situation. If they aren’t interested in your business or aren’t ready to buy, you don’t have to reach out as often. If they are interested, you can pretty safely reach out to them three to five times over as many weeks, or at increasing intervals. Either way, it’s a good idea to send your first follow-up email one or two days after your first meeting.
If you’re not getting a good response to emails, try a phone call. Some people prefer to speak on the phone. Even for those that don’t like phone calls, this simple break from the email routine can get their attention in a good way, as long as you aren’t calling constantly and you respect their business hours.
When you do get responses to your pitch follow-ups, make sure you take the time to build a relationship with your contact instead of constantly pitching and selling. Get to know them, their position, and what their company needs. This can help you tailor your pitches to appeal to them more. On a more personal level, if a person feels like you care about them and they feel like they know you on a personal level they’re more likely to reach out to you when they need something your company offers.
It might help to keep notes on your contact and their business, especially as you’re first getting to know them. Keep track of what you talked about during phone calls and in-person meetings and save emails for future reference. Make sure to pay special attention to what their needs are and what they think is preventing them from doing business with your company so you can come up with solutions.
How To Write A Follow-Up
So you know some best practices for following up, but how do you actually write a pitch follow-up email?
Start with your subject line. Keep it short and specific. Using something too generic like “Just following up” will get your email sent straight to the trash or just forgotten about. Anything too long will get cut off.
When writing your first follow-up email to someone, keep it short. A few concise sentences can get your point across without wasting their time. Start by re-introducing yourself and mentioning where you met. If you had a good conversation, reference that here and maybe provide some relevant information. Finish off your email with a call to action, saying that you’d like to keep in touch or set up a meeting with them.
Keep your follow-ups conversational and focus on building a relationship instead of just selling. Constant sales pitches get annoying and will make people ignore you. Conversations are engaging. When someone wants to know more about your product, they’ll ask.
When it comes time to pitch, remember to tailor your pitch to what your contact wants and the needs of their company. Focus on how your business can help them and why you’re better than your competitors. You’ll get better results if you address specific concerns they have instead of using a generic pitch.
Don’t completely drop a contact just because they’re not responding to your pitch follow-ups – they might be too busy to reply or just not ready for what you’re offering. Consider adding them to a mailing list that sends helpful information, freebies, or relevant articles to them no more than once a month. This keeps you and your organization on their mind while also building your credibility.
If someone asks you outright to stop contacting them, respect that. Further pitching and sales attempts are very annoying. No one wants to work with someone who is pushy and annoying.
Send them one last email thanking them for their directness and letting them know you understand that you’re done. Take the chance to ask them why they don’t want to hear from you – they might be already getting your product or service from somewhere else, they might not think they need what you’re offering, or your product or service might be outside of their price range. You might not get a response, but their response might prove to be insightful.
Don’t be too disheartened by negative responses. Not everyone needs or is ready for what your organization provides. If you’ve made a good impression on your contact they might remember you and your organization when they are ready for your product or service.
You’re never going to make a sale the first time you meet someone. You need to rely on your pitch follow-ups to foster a good relationship and build credibility with a potential customer before you can make a deal.