Follow Up or Give Up?

Pintip Persistance Small Here’s a prospecting statistic that might surprise you: According to research firm SiriusDecisions, the average salesperson makes only two attempts to reach a prospect. That might include an initial cold call, a follow-up voicemail, or a pair of emails, but the fact that most sales reps give up after two tries is shocking.

Why? Because, according to our own research, it takes 9+ touches to generate a qualified B2B sales lead. Unfortunately, many salespeople view that level of persistence as annoyance — particularly if they feel like they don’t have anything new to say to the prospect.

Recently, I engaged in a great conversation with a peer of mine, Stephen Wren, about this very topic and his perspective got me thinking. Stephen’s take was that the key to toeing the line between persistence and annoyance is to ensure that your follow-up emails always have something new and valuable to deliver. If that’s not the case, Stephen suggested that reps are better off not sending a follow-up email or making another call.

While I agreed with Stephen that prospecting success is very much tied to finding new ways to communicate important messages to prospective buyers, I disagreed that reps should wait until they have new, fresh information to share. Here’s why: When reps operate with that thinking, they tend to unnecessarily halt the sales process and, as a result, lose prospects’ interest.

Here’s what I think you should do instead: Look for a change.

Any change gives you something new to talk about, or a new way to reframe your original message. Look for new:

    • Directions
    • Challenges
    • People
    • Leaders
    • Happenings
    • Offerings

You don’t have to search a whole bunch of places to find changes. Visit these familiar places to find new information to liven up your message:

    • Prospect’s website
    • LinkedIn
    • Twitter
    • Web search

The key takeaway here is that a prospect’s lack of response isn’t always indicative of disinterest. It might just mean that, even after four prospecting emails or calls, your message just isn’t resonating.

So, make sure you’re always on the lookout for new ways to change-up your message with new or re-framed information. Because if you’re not doing that, then — like Stephen suggested — you probably are wasting everyone’s time.


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