How to craft an effective follow-up sequence: The 7 rules to keep your prospects engaged, nurtured and ready for the close

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Have any idea what a follow-up sequence is all about?

Do you generate leads and interest in your business but don’t know what to do with them?

Have you been struggling with how, when and for how long you need to be in touch with prospects till they become customers?

Do you have an automated process that helps following up with leads as simple as filling a glass of water?

 

If your answer to any of these questions is ‘No’ or ‘I’m not sure’ then you need to revisit your follow-up process.

If you didn’t know this before, you need to know it now.
A greater percentage of your sales will come through in the follow-up.

This means that you don’t just rely on your initial touch points with prospects. You should make sure you continue the conversation, keep showing up with relevant and valuable insights to empower your clients whether they’ve said yes or are still considering their options.

Because all leads are not created equal. Many are in different buying stage. Some are in the early stage where they’re just researching about the problem.

Others are in the middle stage where they’re considering solutions and alternatives and some others are in the late stage where they are contemplating the companies and products/services out there.

Which means that some customers may quickly signup for your product, program or service while for some others the time will vary.

Your job is to keep them engaged and keep you ‘top of mind’ so that when they are willing, ready and able to make a purchasing decision, your business becomes the obvious choice among the sea of competition.

An effective follow-up process will help you make this happen.

It’s built to understand the customer journey, educate them and grant them the opportunity to choose your product, service or program.

Your follow-up process is a varied amount of touch points that you create to engage with your prospects.

That’s why it’s called the follow-up sequence.

With that said, how do you craft an effective follow-up sequence that will keep your prospects engaged, nurtured and ready for the close?

These seven rules will show you exactly how.

Real quick here are the seven rules and will dive into each one in detail:

1. Keep it automated and smart
2. Understand what’s holding your prospects back – Are there objections, conditions?
3. Use the power of storytelling to deliver your message.
4. With every touch point show that you’re credible, relatable and useful.
5. Keep your CTA short, sweet and clear.
6. Change the selling environment.
7. Dot all your I’s and cross your T’s. Remove all errors on your part.

 

Now let’s see how to work the magic with each of these rules.

1. Keep it automated and smart.

For your follow-up sequence to be powerful as well as easily managed you can’t make this a manual process.

It should be powered by an automated customer journey email sequence. So email and marketing automation come in handy in here.

As earlier mentioned, your follow-up sequence should understand your customers’ buying stage. Which means you should share content they will find useful based on where they are in the customer journey.

Are they in the early stage? Give them info highlighting and digging into the problem and the mistakes they could currently be making trying to solve the problem or not knowing enough about the problem.

You follow-up sequence also needs to be smart.

In this case, it needs to know when a prospect has made a purchase and become a customer. It’s designed to remove the prospect from the follow-up sequence automatically.

This can be achieved if you’re using marketing and email automation tools like Active Campaign and Autopilot and some others in the same boat.

2. Understand what’s holding your prospects back – Are there objections, conditions?

There may be a good reason why your prospects haven’t said yes yet. For your follow-up sequence to be effective you need to make sure that within your emails or other follow-up touch points you address their objections and understand their conditions.

Objections are reasons outside your power that is keeping your prospects from going with your product.

For example, they could say, “I don’t have the budget” or “My partner hasn’t approved yet.”

Those are objections outside your power.

Conditions are what they would have loved to see in the product but you don’t have.

This is, of course, taking into cognisance that you’re dealing with qualified leads and not some unserious leads who just like to ramble on and on seeking every excuse to say no.

To reiterate; your job is to preempt your leads, understand their objections and concerns and tackle it head on within your follow-up sequence.

3. Use the power of storytelling to deliver your message.

In a world where everyone wants a template solution, using template email follow-up series isn’t bad in and of itself. However, if it keeps you from showing off your authentic unique self to your prospects with whom you need a transactional exchange and a lifetime of relationship, then there lies its problem.

Everyone's story is unique and different and as such a story can't be templated. Click To Tweet

What you must do is to find a unique way to weave story telling into your follow-up sequence.

This reminds me of a visit to my hairdresser. As I sat on the couch, with some other ladies who came in for a hairdo, I noticed there was so much chatter about what this person was up to and what was happening to this other person.

Without even thinking, I said aloud. “Ah, hairdressers, you guys like to gossip.”

To my amazement, rather than my hairdresser feeling hurt or insulted, she smiled and replied, “We have to gossip. That’s how we keep our customers happy.”

So much laughter resounded the room at her cute reply.

And at that moment, it struck me.

“She’s right.” I thought to myself. “We call it gossip, but gossip is like story telling and it has a way of keeping people glued to their chairs and your message.”

You see what I did there, I just told a story that relates to my point.

If hairdressers know the power of (gossip) storytelling and use it to retain and entertain their audience why shouldn’t you use it to land more sales and grow your business?

4. With every touch point show that you’re credible, relatable and useful. If you get rule three right, this will be a walk in the park.

People don’t want to buy from robots.

When you try to show off to your prospects that you’re this amazing demi-god, sometimes it comes out as standoffish and can be a turn-off.

Yes, you want to show that you’re excellent at what you do. However, do not do it at the expense of losing the prospect’s trust.

Trust is built because we see the other individual as relatable. Especially when we can connect with what they’ve been through, where they are or with where they are going.

Those are the three touch points of relatability.

  • I understand what you’ve been through, I get it. I’ve been there.
  • I love what you’re about right now. I want to join the bandwagon.
  • I love where you’re going; I want to be part of your journey.

So humanize your brand. Make it relatable. Remove the brand jargons, brand-speak and all that gobbledegook.

When you do this, your credibility grows equally.

Another important detail to note is this – make sure you’re communicating your usefulness to your prospects.

Follow up sequence blog quote (2)

Think about all the things you have in your home. You have them because at one point or the other those things are useful.

You have a kitchen knife because it’s useful for chopping food and making you your scrumptious meals.

You’re reading this on a phone or PC because it’s useful.

Here is a simple exercise to determine your product usefulness.

I use a kitchen knife because I want to cook so I can eat.

Time to fill in the gaps with your product, its usefulness and the benefit of that usefulness.

Ready?

Your customers use your (_________) because they want (_________) so they can (_____________________)

This is how to get clear on the ‘useful-ness’ of your solution, product or service and when you’ve done that you need to communicate it clearly to your prospects.

Speaking of being clear, it brings us to the next point.

5. Keep your CTA short, sweet and clear.

Your CTA is your call to action.
What’s the next logical action you want your prospects to take after they’ve interacted with your email, message, story or content?

To clearly understand what a CTA means and how to use it clearly, let’s back up a bit and take a look at other mundane aspects of our lives.

You see you use Call to Actions everywhere.

You use it when you drop off your kids at school.
“Remember no fighting, eat your lunch, be a good boy/girl.”

You use it when you visit the supermarket or grocery store.
“I’m done here, could you please bag my stuff, how much is my bill?”

You use it when you end a phone conversation.
“Take care, talk to you later.”

Do you get the point?

Your CTA gives the other person an insight into what you want them to do next.

So in this case, your CTA would either be:

‘Shall we discuss this over the phone?’
‘Can we meet for lunch?’
‘Sign up for our free trial.’
‘Apply for our program’
‘Schedule an appointment’
Or the outright ‘Buy now.’

The bottom line is your CTA should convey the idea of the next logical step you want your prospects to take.

This is my CTA right now to you.
After reading this I need you to schedule a business growth one-on-one online consulting with me where we look at how this can work for your business.

You got that!

To the next.

6. Change the selling environment.

If you noticed some examples of CTA I gave, it included something other than requesting a direct purchase.
For example:

‘Shall we discuss this over the phone?’
‘Can we meet for lunch?’

You already know that your follow-up sequence is majorly powered by email automation which means that these are series of emails delivered over time at intervals.

Rather than requiring immediate purchase straight from email, you could change tactics. Ask your prospects to connect with you in a different environment.

This is what I mean by changing the selling environment.

You see, customers online buying behaviour varies. Some are comfortable doing their research online and buying online without so much as a physical interaction with the company.

However, some love to research online and buy offline.

In this case, your lead generation has brought them all the way to you virtually. It doesn’t mean every lead will want to close that way.

Try to understand what works best for your business and who knows, you just could have that phone call or that office visit and your prospect will be willing and ready to take the shot and make their purchase.

Follow up sequence blog quote (1)

The good thing about changing the selling environment is it gives you different follow-up touch points so you don’t just crowd your leads with emails.

Got that?

And finally, the last but not the least.

7. Dot all your I’s and cross your T’s.

This simply means that you should remove all errors on your part as much as you can.

We all know no one is error free especially not when you have a lot of moving parts in your business.

However, there are areas in your follow-up sequence you can’t afford to drop the ball.

Such as making sure your sequence works like a well-oiled machine.

It’s like an artist who needs to take on a live stage and suddenly the lights, camera and props stop working.

That’s a big blow. Though the artist may improvise, it sometimes gets noticed by the audience and may send a message of inexperience, amateurish management etc.

Though an artist may make a quick comeback, in our case as businesses with a ton of competition, it may not be as easy as white and black.

Avoid the kind of errors that tail off to your prospects that you’re not really or fully invested in them and all you want is just the money.

That could be bad for your brand.

Okay! Wow… isn’t that something to think about.

At this point, you know how to craft an effective follow-up sequence but why should you do so?

A poor and ineffective follow-up process could hinder your sales outcome and could be one of the reasons your close rate remains lower than industry average even if you’re successfully generating qualified leads.

Without an effective follow-up process then your leads will keep slipping away.

Follow up is very key to building a successful lead and sales generation process.

The follow-up sequence explained in this post is not the annoying daily or weekly phone calls, asking one question over and over again.
“Will you buy now?”
“Are you ready to buy now?”

No.

We all know your customers are not stupid. When they want your product, service or program they are smart enough to go for it.

That’s why building a follow-up sequence that follows these rules will keep your sales pipeline filled with ready to buy hot leads and get you ahead of the competition.

Don’t you want this for your business?

I must add here that this level of follow-up efficiency can only be achieved if you have the right tools working the system.

That’s why I’ve put together this free ebook:
“The 30 Ultimate list of tools you need to launch a profitable lead generation system.”

It takes you through the tools you need to generate qualified leads and nurturing them leading up to purchase.

Download now and get to crafting an effective follow-up sequence that would jump start your sales results and increase your revenue.

 

 

 

Ifeoma Illoh is a data driven growth marketer. As a senior digital marketing and PR consultant she works with businesses to activate and grow consistent revenue using digital channels and online media platforms so they can attract leads, maximize sales and grow exponentially. This is ultimately so that business owners can make impact, have influence and build the legacy they desire. She wears many hats as a serial entrepreneur. She's the Founder of WiredInn Digital agency and Chief Content Officer here at OnlineMarketingIntelligence.com. You can connect with her via Twitter.

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