How Many Follow Up Emails Does it Take?

How many follow up emails does it take to convert a prospect to a sale? Of course, it depends. Last fall I had a big gift box project. Here is the story of how long I followed up to get that sale.

On February 23, 2016 I received an email introduction to a guy who works at a financial planning group. We had a 1-1 conversation over the phone on March 1, 2016. ON that phone call, he said his company might need help with holiday gifts. They had an idea to do some gift baskets with coffee mugs and coffee and tea. He said he needed a source for the coffee and would be working on it in a couple of months.

follow up emailsI immediately researched some coffee ideas and then put a note in my calendar to follow up in 2 months. My next email went to him on May 4th. He loved the ideas I gave him and asked me to set up a time to come into the office and see the mugs they had in mind so I could work on packaging. On June 21st, I went into the office, talked with the office manager about the project and then took their samples so I could make a mockup of the gift basket for them. I returned to the office in late July with an example and pricing for the project.

In September of 2016, they reached a decision to send a different gift that year and to postpone the coffee gift baskets until 2017. I reached out again in June of 2017, connected them with some new resources, met with them and picked up supplies for the final project.  Over the summer we worked out details. Everything was finalized in September. I received the supplies in mid-October and assembled everything and had them shipped the week before Thanksgiving of 2017.

The total time from the first contact until everything was shipped was one year and 10 months. The number of follow up touches was well over 10. Most of them were follow up emails giving them requested resources or setting up times to meet. Some of the follow up emails occurred after a long period of time had passed, because that was when they requested I follow up with them. By following their lead, I was able to stay in touch with them in a way that was comfortable and welcomed.

48% of sales people NEVER follow up. I took the first step and sent the follow up email with resources a couple months after we talked. (Because that was when the prospect said he wanted it.)

Only 10% of sales people make more than 3 contacts. If I had done that, I would have missed out on a big project.

Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. Originally, they said this project would be to send 75-100 gift baskets. When they finalized numbers in October, they had 170 gift baskets. The project doubled and they trusted me to do it because I had nurtured the relationship for over a year.

The moral of the story: follow up emails work!

If you want more effective follow up, join me for a training, “How to Follow Up Without Being a Stalker.”

What is the longest you have followed up with someone before you made the sale? What results have you seen from following up? Share in the comments.

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