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July 16, 2007


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Thanks for the article.

I am Project Manager and follow up is an implicit part of my job. The article is from sales point of view. Here the follow up action can end in case the prospect does not respond after a few times.

However, in projects, the PM needs to keep following up with the stake holders and try and keep their interest levels high enough that they respond with their inputs. Following up ends only after all inputs from the stake holders are received and there is nothing more needed. Of course, following up ends but relationship needs still to be maintained.

Following up becomes a key task of the project manager for project success and eventually his success as well.

Wade Fletcher

Your advice was very informative Charlie, but I believe the topic was follow up, and not adapting to clients position in the sales cycle. Listening and responding to clients in the follow up process can be the next topic. Again, good info.

I just wanted to mention the invaluable tool of crm software that you can modify to your own follow up process. I'm not skilled enough to remember timely follow up on my own.



Having spent 20 years in sales, i know the importance of good follow up. The most succesful sales people know the best time to set follow up appointments is during your appointment (or call).

I would always ask prospects, 'How would you like me to follow up with you'? Let them choose the method, time and day. They'll usually say, 'It'll take me about a week to review your information, so why don't we talk next Friday?'

Never end a conversation or a meeting without determining the next step for proper follow up.

Too many reps get stuck emailing and calling because they didn't have a follow up system for their prospect.

Prospects are rarely offended that you want to follow up with them and are requesting their preferences and respecting their space.


Charlie Lang

Important topic, thanks Robert.

There is only one thing I need to disagree with and that is about your advise on slow/fast follow-up.

What I notice is that most people, for whom selling is an important part of their job, try to develop a 'sales process' which quite obviously includes follow-up. The more effective sellers tend to have a more effective sales process and yet, even most of the top sales people don't get beyond lead-conversion rates of 15-20%, i.e. they waste time on working with the remaining 80-85% of the prospects they don't close.

I found that the main reason for these sorts of conversion rates is the fact that they try to follow a sales process.

Now, before you think I've gone nuts, read on. The problem is that buyers don't follow sales processes but that they go about buying in their own way which might differ every time they buy, sometimes even if they buy the same product again.

That's because people's needs and wants change over time and so do their circumstances and often also their preferences.

Some people like to make quick decisions in buying certain things and become rather indecisive when buying something else. So buying patterns might change at any time.

Consequently, I have to disagree with the bit as to when to follow-up slowly and when fast because it really depends. I agree with Robert that the sequences he mentions tend (!) to require acceleration / slow-down, but these are just tendencies and there might be numerous exceptions when this might just be the wrong thing to do.

So what to do? I strongly believe in being sensitive at any time(!) of the preferences of the person we deal with and in noticing that our preferences may not be the same as our prospect's. For example, I love communicating by email, but I also am aware that some people hate it and much rather get a call. Some people want to minimize meetings with vendors while others first want to see your face before they even consider talking to you.

To make a long story short, I agree that what Robert describes are definitely major tendencies, but I'd recommend to be sensitive and notice when there are exceptions. There might be more than you think.

One thing I totally agree with Robert: Follow-up is crucial to success.

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