The secret to following up without appearing pushy or needy

For some businesses, not following up could be costing huge dollars every year. Here are some effective, no-stress ways to handle your followups
Effective followup strategies

If you hate sending “Just following up” emails, don’t worry – you’re not alone.

We all know it means we’re trying to get someone else to do something that for whatever reason they don’t think is a priority, or maybe don’t want to do at all, so naturally a bit of trepidation creeps in with the fear of coming off as needy or pushy.

…. But we can’t put off the followup because there is always someone else that is willing to be pushy – they may not be better, but we’ve all lost business to them!

So if you don’t want to come off as needy and/or pushy with the “Did you get/read my proposal”, “What did you think?” or “Just following up” lines…

The answer is knowing your touchpoints, optimising your messaging around them, systemising it, and even automating it. This will in large part remove your hesitation from the equation, leaving less to chance.

Communication Strategies for the Most Common Touchpoints

New Optins

Someone has opted in for something – this is the time to build the relationship and get them to take the next step sooner.

  • Send what they opted in for – of course, but don’t just send them to a thank you page – here is where you want something to get them to take the next step whether it is an upsell or to book a discovery call.
  • Send an indoctrination series – this may reinforce what you had on the “thank you” page, or it might just be a series of emails letting them know who you are, what they should expect now that they are on your list, and how they can do more with you.
  • Add to your regular email campaigns – this is for the slow burn, keeping people in your funnel and aware of who you are, and possibly you might not include contacts until they have been through your indoctrination sequence. If you have a content strategy for producing blogs and videos and posting on social media, you have content for regular emails.

Discovery Call/Appointment

If you have not had a no show before, then well done… they do happen, but reducing the frequency of them happening is pretty simple.

  • Send a confirmation with a prompt to add it to their calendar
  • Fill the gap – there’s a good chance that things will come up between the time of making the appointment and the time of the appointment. Building value perception is a great way to make sure you stay top priority – what will be done during the appointment, success stories/case studies, an unannounced bonus…these are all things you could include as a reason to send extra messages.
  • Reminder – people do forget! Even this morning as I was writing this blog post, I was lucky enough to be able to rely on a reminder prompt for a meeting I had, but had forgotten in the moment (this is going to be especially relevant for appointments done via phone or video call when people get busy and forget). Do give people an option to reschedule if needed – you would probably prefer this to a no-show.
  • No-show – it’s your choice how you handle this. If you’re doing paid appointments, maybe they lose the appointment fee or you can let them rebook for a reduced fee. If it was a free appointment, you might give the option to rebook – possibly for a fee if you have positioned the value and the cost of not attending the free session they booked.

Enquiry followup

What is the next step? Depending on your business it might be:

  • Sending a price guide
  • Getting them to book a discovery call
  • Letting them know of a current offer

Proposal followup

Here’s the big one. You’ve spent significant time to get to this point – an investment that you don’t want to go to waste!

For ourselves, we use a solution that tracks email and proposal opens, so at least we don’t have to worry about that part of the followup.

The other things you might layer in to followup messages to stay top of mind include:

  • FAQs
  • Case studies
  • How you make the next steps easy

Onboarding

At this point you’ve got the deal, so maybe having a systemised onboarding is not necessary?

Well if you want your clients to enjoy heir experience with you, this is critical… and you know they’re more like to refer if they found the process simple and straight forward.

Make it clear.

Don’t over burden them with too many things to do in one go – give them a checklist(s) to work through if there are things you need from them, along with clear instructions. It’s important that you understand and have documented your own systems so you know exactly when and how you should be asking clients for things.

Renewals/Repeat Services

Repeat business is gold.

For longer periods such as annual renewals, or even refinances, definitely at least stay in their inbox on a regular basis – don’t let the one time you’re contacting them be when you want something.

For shorter term renewals or repeat services just be putting out good content, and plan when you will be sending reminders.

A good way to manage repeat business is to use a combination of opportunities pipeline and automation. Doing it this way you can set it up to recognise time in a stage as a trigger for an automation, e.g. move to “Renewal due in 1 month” stage and send email with link to book an appointment, and if appointment not booked 14 days out then a reminder is sent… and a few more steps.

The Best Ways To Systemise & Automate Followups

1. Use a CRM

If you’re still relying purely on email and your memory, people are going to fall through the cracks, and you’ll definitely be sending lame, “I just wanted to followup….” emails.

A good CRM will keep a history of all communication, notes, and interactions you have had with a contact, and ideally capability for notifications if manual followups are required.

If you’re not automating the followup messages, it should definitely have the capability to add templates that you can select and edit.

2. Use a tool to visualise and manage your opportunities pipeline

Sure, maybe you can go old school with a whiteboard or Excel sheet, but they do get messy!

Those that are good at sales always have a way to visualise their sales opportunities, how long each opportunity has been stuck in one stage and what communication needs to happen around each stage.

The gold standard of opportunity pipeline management tools are those that can integrate automations, e.g. if opportunity is in this stage then automated notification is sent to sales person to followup, or if you move an opportunity to a different stage automatically something happens like an email being sent to the prospect.

3. Map communication at each touchpoint and automate (including prompts to make calls)

The biggest trick is knowing what your client touchpoints are and then thinking about what communication should be happening around them.

If you looked back on past communication with clients you’ll probably get an idea of common elements that you can address, e.g. if there are questions being frequently asked. You could also be including case studies and other content types.

Planned communication like this is intended to reinforce that you are the best choice without needing to focus on, for instance, that proposal you’re really wanting them to look at.

Come up with your list of touchpoints and the messages you need around them (you can just tick off one touchpoint at a time) – when you have that, then you can automate them.

4. Retarget

You might be aware of the idea of retargeting based on whether people have or have not visited particular pages on your website, e.g. did or did not optin for something, and then did or did not book and appointment.

You can even use your database as a custom audience for retargeting – and if you are using a platform that integrates your CRM with marketing automation then this might even be automated, e.g. FocalContact works with the Facebook API to automatically update your custom audiences in Facebook.

Note: Retargeting is the term used mostly by social ad platforms, whereas Google Ads calls it remarketing. Don’t just think of Google Ads as the ads you see in search results, Google Ads gives you access o other placements including the Google Display Network and YouTube.

Depending on where the prospect is in your funnel will determine what content you retarget them with in your ads, including:

  • People using your product or service
  • People experiencing your product or service
  • Copies of client reviews (even videos if you have them)
  • Comparisons of your product/service versus competitors
  • Promotions you are running.

Here’s the takeaway: not following up is costing you $$$

It’s funny… Being afraid to ask for the sale is often part of a scarcity mindset – you know you want this prospect as a client, but what happens if you push them away. Quite often this happens because we think they would be the perfect client, or we do not have enough traffic turning into leads.

Either way, it’s a problem.

Just think if the lifetime value of a client is $10K, and you’re missing out on one sale every month that you should have closed – that’s $120K in lost revenue every year… I’d say that’s a BIG problem.

You don’t have to be the squeaky wheel to get the sale, but you do need to maintain visibility – enough to overcome the barrier of inertia that a lot of your prospects may be experiencing.

And the secret really is in mapping and planning your touchpoints – adding value, giving them reasons to think about what you do a different way, reinforcing that you are the path of least resistance, and making sure they keep on thinking about you in their busy days and weeks.