Following up is an essential part of making a sale. Doing so without being annoying can be tricky, though. You don’t want to barrage a prospect with calls and emails, but you also don’t want to disappear completely.

The key is finding a balance between being persistent and pleasant without coming across as pushy. Elliot Bell, the former director of marketing at The Muse, says you should follow five rules when following up with prospects. We share his guidance in this issue of PromoPro Daily.

Rule No. 1: Just be nice. When you don’t hear from someone, you may want to say something like, “You ignored my first email,” or “You never responded.” Resist the urge to get upset and never take out your feelings in an email, Bell says. Instead, take a polite tone through the entire email thread. He says showing that you’re friendly and understand they have a busy schedule can keep the prospect interested. 

Rule No. 2: Don’t check in every day. If you follow up too often, it simply shows that you don’t respect the other person’s time. Bell recommends waiting at least a week before calling or emailing again. Any sooner and he says you risk coming off as pushy.

Rule No 3: Ask if you should stop following up. There’s no need to waste their time or yours. Bell says you could phrase it like, “I know how busy you are and completely understand if you just haven’t had time to reach back out. But I don’t want to bombard you with emails if you’re not interested. Just let me know if you prefer I stop following up.” Most people will appreciate the gesture and let you know if now isn’t the best time.

Rule No 4: Get creative. The goal is to stand out in a good way. Even if the prospect isn’t ready to buy from you right now, you can still follow up creatively. Use promo to keep them interested and keep your name top of mind.

Rule No. 5: Mix things up. Don’t keep following up in the same way. Sometimes, changing it up can be just the way to connect with someone. Don’t send the exact same email at the same time of day on the same day of the week, Bell says. Getting people to respond may come down to catching them at the right time.

Most sales require five follow-ups to close the deal. Remember – how you follow up matters. You can either get sales conversations going again, or completely shut down any chance of landing the business. Let the pointers above be your guide for following up the right way.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Elliot Bell is the former director of marketing at The Muse.