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Follow-Up Sales Pitches: The Key to Winning More Business

Doing follow-ups is more valuable than writing more estimates – here’s why.

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EVERY SIGNSHOP EXPERIENCES the heartbreak of lost business. We spend time — sometimes hours of time — putting together a proposal only to get “crickets” in response to a follow-up, or the more direct, “Thanks, we can’t afford it,” or, even worse, “We found it cheaper somewhere else.”

Follow-ups on estimates can be frustrating, painful and unfruitful. It’s often the last task that we want to undertake. It feels more rewarding and satisfying to focus on new opportunities ahead, projects that we are currently quoting or projects we have already won.

Doing follow-ups is one of the most underrated skills, habits and uses of your time. The time you spent creating that estimate or proposal is already spent — you can’t get it back! You might as well do your best work on making the investment pay off!

Did you know that statistics show it takes up to 12 follow-ups to win most business-to-business transactions? (See St, September 2021, page 40.)

You don’t need to win all the business. Just win, let’s say, 5% more, and you’ll see a big impact on your bottom line.

Yes, you could instead increase your leads by 5%, but then you are writing more estimates. Doing follow-ups is more valuable than writing more estimates! Why?

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Connection — You connect more deeply with your customers, having a chance to build a deeper relationship.

Audition — By following up, you demonstrate your reliability as a vendor, as well as your passion for service and desire to work with clients.

Information — You will get more feedback about your service, your prices, and your process. This information is invaluable to winning more business in the future.

Pro Tips for Follow-Ups

How to make it easier to get traction with customers!

Before you send the estimate, call the customer and walk them through the estimate on the phone. Listen for reactions, questions or hesitancy in their voice. Ask the magic question, “When can I follow up?” If they balk at giving you a follow-up time frame, suggest one: “If I don’t hear from you in two weeks, is it okay if I give you a call?” Once you send the estimate, your leverage is gone — they don’t need you anymore!

Email and call on your estimate follow-ups. Emails can be overlooked, end up in spam or simply ignored. (Do you reply to every email asking for a response? Exactly.)

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Meet in person if the estimate is impactful in size. Maybe you can email a $500 estimate, but a $5,000 estimate? Face-to-face interactions give you an advantage in reading body language, as well as an opportunity to connect again with your client.

Be open and positive in your follow-ups! Find happy phrasing that invites feedback! “I’m grateful for the chance to work with you. I am hoping to get some feedback on our estimate we sent last week.”

The most important thing is to keep at it. Remember that stat: 80% of sales occur between the fifth and twelfth follow-up!

Maggie Harlow is the CEO of Signarama Downtown Louisville (Louisville, KY), one of the largest and most prestigious locations for the global sign franchise. Contact Maggie at [email protected]

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