Whether you have contacted a sales lead via email, bulk mail or the tried­and­true phone method, the next logical step is learning how to master the follow up. If you call too early in process or too often or at the wrong time, your follow up attempts can run off the tracks in a hurry. It’s enough to cause more than a few sleepless nights, but if you finely tune your follow up protocol you’ll have nothing to worry about.

Don’t be afraid to ask the client

There is no one more qualified to give you the green light, with specifics, on a well­timed follow up than the client himself. This is especially pertinent during sales phone calls. If you are concerned that you may mistime a follow up, ask the client what time works best for him.

Being thankful will pay off

Even if the contact with your lead was a back­and­forth via email or an online chat, nothing will impress a potential customer quite like a handwritten thank you note. Show your appreciation by taking the time to write a personal message crafted specifically for that client. Avoid canned messages if possible because as impressive as a handwritten note can be, a pre­printed postcard may be as equally off putting.

Too many follow ups is better than none

Do you fear that contacting your leads too many times will annoy them? While that is a valid point to consider it’s much worse to completely avoid following up altogether. Don’t pester your leads but make sure you consistently contact your potential clients on a regular basis over an extended period of time.

Organize your efforts

Keep your leads’ information in a streamlined, easy to access database that you and your sales team can view. Possibly consider a CRM. A CRM solution can help keep all relevant data at your fingertips. But make notes any time you contact your leads so in the future you are armed with information that can assist you in closing the sale.

Never be late

If you ask your client for a follow up appointment, don’t be late. In fact never be late. Calling or showing up late to a meeting will cause you stress, irritate your potential client and probably cost you a sale.

Be informative

When you call a lead, be prepared to inform and educate. Make it clear right from the beginning that you are calling for a specific reason. Your customer’s time is important so if it appears you are just calling for the sake of calling, it may come off as pestering. Before following up, ask yourself the question “Why am I calling?” If you cannot conjure up a good, value added reason, it would be in your best interest to come up with one. Inform your lead about a particular product or service, tell them about a special you are running or describe in detail on why your offerings will enhance his company.