Knowing how to follow up with clients and prospects is one of the most useful skills in business.
No matter how much your existing or potential client is interested in your products or services, similar to all of us, they have an information overload and their attention has to switch from one task to another constantly.
Follow-ups are an effective way to win your potential client’s attention over and reconnect. While following up might not seem the most comfortable thing to do, when done right, it is highly effective.
In this article, you’ll learn 18 tips on how to follow up with clients effectively.
Examples when you need to follow up
There are different reasons why you might need to follow up with a client:
- Get feedback;
- Remind about payment;
- Close a sale;
- Ask for more information;
- Get a referral;
- Ask for a testimonial;
- Request project details;
- Get a contract signed;
- And so on.
Depending on your goal, you’ll need to adjust your follow-up routine from client to client.
For example, if it’s a warm contact and you want to ask for their feedback or referral, your follow-ups will be different from the ones that you send to cold contacts that you’ve never talked to before.
That’s why next time you’re drafting your follow-up email, make sure to keep in mind the goal of your message: what do you want to achieve and how to do this in the best way possible?
Top 10 strategies to follow up with clients
Following up might not always be an easy task, but there are ways to take on these tasks more effectively.
Here are a few things you can do to follow up with clients and prospects more effectively:
1. Use different communication channels
There are many ways to follow up with a client.
You can send an email or a text message. You can also give them a call or connect with them on LinkedIn. You can even set up a quick call or video conference. In some cases, you might even want a face-to-face meeting.
Depending on the situation, you can try reaching out to your client or lead via different channels and see which one works best for them.
2. Ask what’s the best way to follow up with someone
If you already have a connection established with a potential or existing client, it’s better to ask them what communication method they prefer.
Some would ask you to give them a quick call while others prefer emails. By making sure that you’re connecting with them via their most comfortable (or most used) channel you increase your chances of getting a response.
3. Space out your follow-ups
If you’re trying to build a connection with a prospective client, keep in mind that it is not built overnight and cannot be rushed. It’s better to space out your follow-ups instead of trying to squeeze them all in a short period of time.
Being consistent and persistent is not the same as being pushy and aggressive.
It’s so simple that you can apply it on the go without any training. According to this method, you need to have a follow-up task (a Next Action) with a due date next to every client in your database.
In OnePageCRM, you can create a locked loop of Next Actions: once a follow-up task is done, it disappears, and the system asks you to set a next one, up until the sale is made or there’s no reason for any more follow-ups.
4. Keep in mind that everyone has a life
Not getting a response straight away doesn’t always mean that a lead is not interested.
Sometimes it’s just not the best timing. They might be wrapping up an important project or be busy with other tasks on their list. There are many different reasons for an objection or no response. Don’t take it personally and keep your outreach open, polite, and friendly.
Spacing out your follow-up messages gives you a higher chance of connecting with them once their busy period is over.
5. Don’t give up straight away
Consistent follow-ups are highly effective.
In most cases, it’s not enough to follow up only one time: your clients and leads are busy and you need to do your best to get their attention. This doesn’t mean that you need to spam them but a good practice is to send 2-3 follow-ups at the very least.
Be persistent while maintaining some level of patience. Some processes might take time: the more decision-makers are involved, the longer it’ll take for your client to get back to you with a response.
6. Use different follow-up templates
One of the best ways to follow up with customers is to use templates. These templates can be canned messages that you send to clients. Using templates can save you time and keep your communication more streamlined.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Include all relevant information in your follow-ups. For example, if you ask for invoice payment, you need to provide all invoicing details. This will help avoid any unnecessary back-and-forth communication.
- Personalize every email. A repetitive follow-up can look like spam. With a bit of personalization, you have a higher chance of receiving a response.
- Be creative. Follow-ups don’t have to be robotic. That’s why you can try injecting a bit of humor. For example, sometimes there’s no harm in using a funny GIF image.
7. Automate your follow-up routine
Try automating your routine as much as possible. It can be something very simple that will free up your time. Some tools can trigger a follow-up email when a specific event happens.
For example, once you create a call note, your CRM can automatically create a task for you “Follow up after the call” or even send a pre-saved email template with an introductory slide deck or any additional information you usually send after calls with potential clients.
To make the most of automation, start by mapping out your follow-up process. If there are repetitive tasks that you’re doing with every new client, there’s a high chance that your CRM (or any other tool you’re using) can help you automate some of them.
And if there are no native integrations, you can turn to Zapier.
8. Mind the timing
If you’ve just finished a meeting or a call with a prospective or existing client and there’s a follow-up needed, do it the same day. If you wait for too long, you’ll lose momentum or even lose a lead to a competitor who can be just a bit faster with follow-ups than you are.
By sending a follow-up message or giving a phone call at the right time, you’ll have better chances of getting your message across and receiving a response:
- Don’t send messages when you know your clients might be busy.
- Avoid the morning rush or the last few minutes of the work day.
- The best time to send a message might generally be around early to mid-afternoon, but this can differ from case to case.
- Adjust your timing to your client’s schedule (even if you don’t know their schedule, you can take an educated guess on what’s the busiest time for them).
You can also schedule emails or messages to go out at a certain time.
9. Always be polite
To have a profitable business, you need relationships. As they say, instead of B2B or B2C, businesses are now becoming human-to-human (H2H). We didn’t invent this word, it’s a legit term—you can google it.
When talking to your clients, don’t forget that first and foremost they are people. As obvious as it might seem, sometimes businesses forget their manners and the importance of great follow-up etiquette.
10. Give an extra nudge if appropriate
There are different reasons why you need to follow up. Sometimes you just need to ask a client for a review. In this case, you can enclose a bonus or a voucher for every successful feedback submission.
In other cases, you need to follow up to remind clients to complete a transaction or update their application. To get their attention, sometimes you’ll need to explain what will happen if they ignore this step.
Best practices for follow-ups
Good follow-up practices go beyond maintaining a polite and friendly tone; you need some serious communication skills and constant improvements to nail it.
Check out these follow-up tips:
1. Know when to back off
If you’ve tried reaching out to a client multiple times and they’re not responding, ask them directly if they want you to stop. Respect their decision and end things on a positive note.
2. Keep the door open
Even if someone turns down your offer, show appreciation for their time. Find a way to end your communication on a positive note. Maybe there’s a reason for congratulating them on their accomplishments? Have you considered paying respect to their long-term commitment to their business success?
Your simple gesture of appreciation can open up future opportunities and turn that ‘no’ into a ‘yes’ down the line.
3. Personalize your outreach
Forget those boring generic messages that everyone ignores. Instead, add a personal touch. Create a custom video discussing their website or mention something cool from their recent LinkedIn post. Personalization is a good way to show genuine interest.
4. Learn from others
Take a moment to reflect on those cold emails you’ve received. Which ones caught your attention and made you think? Use those insights to craft your own unique and engaging follow-up messages. Inspiration is everywhere.
5. Keep evolving your follow-up message
Don’t get stuck in a rut with just one method or approach. Get out there and experiment. Keep refining until you’re happy with the results. Your outreach is a work in progress, and there’s always room to grow.
6. Nail the subject line
Your subject line is like the first impression, so make it count. Instead of a generic line, try something more intriguing like “Quick question about your web design.” It’ll stand out from all emails in their inbox and make them want to know more.
You can also mention that something that they said or did help you do your job better. For example, “Your idea sparked our new update” can go a long way. What’s more flattering than knowing your idea inspired change? This subject line creates immediate interest and connection.
7. Be brief
Brevity is key.
Keep your message short and sweet, clearly highlighting what you offer and how it benefits them. Get straight to the point and make it easy for them to understand.
8. Follow up promptly
If you’ve met someone at an event or had a phone call, don’t wait around. Follow up as soon as possible. The sooner you do, the better your chances of leaving a lasting impression.
Most common mistakes in follow-ups
Imagine you’re in a high-stakes game of hopscotch where each square represents a step in your follow-up process. You’re hopping along, feeling confident, when suddenly…oops! You’ve stepped on a crack, and your connection with your client seems to have gone off the rails.
But what went wrong?
Here are the most common mistakes in sales follow-ups:
- Lack of personalization: Do you appreciate receiving generic, mass-produced messages? Neither do your clients. Underestimating personalization is a common mistake. It happens when we favor efficiency over connection. But at the end of the day, every client wants to feel valued and acknowledged. Addressing them by their name and referencing previous interactions can make a world of difference.
- Poor timing: Ever called someone just as they were heading into a meeting or sent an email when they were out of office? Bad timing can lead to your message getting buried or forgotten. To avoid this, ask your clients for their preferred mode and time of contact. Asking questions and listening are the foundation for strong communication skills.
- Overwhelming information: Bombarding your client with too much information is not the best strategy. It can lead to confusion as well as loss of interest. This happens when we try to cover everything in one go. Instead, keep information digestible.
- Inconsistency: Follow-ups are a bit like gym workouts—you can’t expect results if you’re not consistent. Inconsistency in follow-ups often occurs when we don’t have a proper CRM system. An action-focused CRM can help you maintain regular contact with clients.
So, the next time you’re sending a follow-up, remember that it’s not just about moving forward, but also about avoiding those challenges.
They might seem harmless, but they can cost you valuable business connections.
5 examples of follow-up email templates
If you ever felt like your follow-up emails were getting lost in the abyss of a client’s inbox, you’re not alone.
In this section, we’ll delve into some examples of good follow-up emails that hit the mark. They’ll help you craft messages that resonate with recipients.
Follow-up email template #1: Thoughts on our services
Imagine you’re a fisherman. You’ve cast your bait, but you’re not getting any bites. That’s the scenario when you’ve pitched your services to a prospective client and received no response.
This follow-up template exudes a vibe of friendliness and genuine curiosity about their thoughts on your proposal. It’s also brief and focuses on their needs and problems instead of promoting your services.
A few days back, I shared some details about [x].
Last week, we helped another company with a similar issue [briefly give numbers]. You can read more here.
If it’s not the best time to connect, let me know.
Follow-up email template #2: Asking for a testimonial
Sometimes asking a client for a testimonial feels like asking for an autograph from a celebrity you’ve just served at your café. They enjoyed their experience, but they left in a hurry.
This follow-up template is a gentle and heartfelt request for your clients’ testimonials. Make sure that you send it only to your happiest clients.
If you decide to write a testimonial on their behalf, it might save them a lot of time and get you a ‘yes’ but this approach will most likely work with those clients who talked to you already about how happy they were with your services (but just never got to put this into a testimonial).
It’s a quick follow-up on my previous email.
I know that you’re very busy so I drafted a testimonial on your behalf based on the feedback you shared during one of our conversations.
Would you be open to us sharing this feedback?
Also, if there’s anything we can do to serve you better, please let me know.
Follow-up email template #3: Next steps after a meeting/call
After a call or a meeting, a follow-up email serves as a reminder of your shared commitments.
This follow-up template summarizes your call and outlines the next steps for all parties involved. After all, you don’t want to end any meeting without a clear next step.
Great speaking with you earlier!
As discussed, we’d like to reconnect on 2024 to discuss [next topic].
For clarity, here’s a quick summary of our call:
I’ve just sent a calendar invite.
Looking forward to reconnecting later!
Follow-up email template #4: Clarifying the status of your application
Imagine sending your PR piece for publication and awaiting a response with bated breath. The same can happen when you send an application to attend some networking event.
In business, we often need to give a gentle reminder. This follow-up template is a courteous and professional way to find out your application status.
While you don’t want to guilt trip anyone, it can be a good idea to highlight in your subject line that the ball is in their court now and you’re waiting for their reply.
A little while back, I sent an application for [x] but didn’t get a confirmation email.
I understand that you must receive a lot of applications so I just wanted to check in on the status of mine.
I’m excited about the potential opportunity and look forward to hearing from you.
Follow-up email template #5: Asking for an introduction/referral
It’s like asking a friend if they’ve talked to their cousin about the favor you asked. Sometimes, it’s tricky to remind people about the favors we need. This email is a tactful nudge for an introduction or a referral that does not pressure the recipient.
In your email, it’s important to highlight why you need this referral or introduction. This will give the person you are reaching out to an opportunity to connect two people for a possibly fruitful collaboration—who wouldn’t want to be a good guy in that situation, right?
I know that you’re very busy so I’ll keep it short.
I’m looking for a way to connect with [Person’s name]. I believe we have quite a few synergies for a successful collaboration. [Give a bit more context]
Is there any chance you can introduce us to each other?
What is the best follow-up tool?
The first thing to include in your follow-up workflow is customer relationship management (CRM) software. This is a system that can help you track clients, store client information, and log interactions.
If follow-ups and regular communication with clients are your number one priority, you need a CRM with proper functionality for managing follow-ups.
That’s why many client-oriented businesses use action-focused CRMs that help them stay in touch with their clients in a consistent and timely manner.
Action Stream makes your follow-up routine more efficient
The Action Stream is the main feature that differentiates action-focused CRMs from all other follow-up tools. Besides the traditional A-to-Z client listing and all the usual CRM features, action-focused CRMs turn a client database into a dynamic list of contacts.
Every contact in these CRMs has a follow-up reminder with a due date assigned next to them. Contacts are automatically sorted by urgency in the Action Stream which lets you easily visualize and manage your workflow without switching from one app to another.
Follow-ups help your business grow
Follow-ups can help you reconnect with clients and win over your leads.
They are most effective when you treat your client database as a business asset and ensure that every contact has a Next Action assigned next to them. In this way, follow-ups become easy and transparent.
Although following up might seem like a daunting task sometimes, there are several ways to make them more effective:
- Use different communication channels
- Ask what’s the best way to follow up with someone
- Space out your follow-ups
- Keep in mind that everyone has a life
- Don’t give up straight away
- Use different follow-up templates
- Automate your follow-up routine
- Mind the timing
- Always be polite
- Give an extra nudge if appropriate
- Know when to back off
- Keep the door open
- Personalize your outreach
- Learn from others
- Keep evolving your outreach
- Nail the subject line
- Be brief
- Follow up promptly