4.1. How to Avoid Getting Stuck in Sales Follow-up Hell

Sales Advancement: How to Avoid Getting Stuck in Sales Follow-Up Hell

Do you often find yourself getting stuck in sales follow-up hell? That eternity in the sales cycle where you are stuck diligently ‘following-up’ with the promising prospect, who equally diligently replies that they ‘are interested, but are still in the process of making a final decision’… or, something similar.

On and on you ‘follow-up’ and the customer consistently gives you the same response, while you miss your sales target, yet again.

Or, do you find that very ‘hot’ prospect simply disappearing into some black hole where they simply vanish off the face of the earth. Your calls, texts, mails simply go unanswered?

It’s sales follow-up hell all over again.


Why you get stuck in follow-up hell


One big mistake salespeople make is that they fail to pay sufficient attention to road blocks. Roadblocks caused by the required change (a change away from their current way of working). It is a fact that any change brings with it, it’s own set of complexities and the assorted negative emotions relative to these complexities.You end up feeling overwhelmed (whether perceived or real) by the very thought of the complications involved in implementing your wonderful solution/s. This could include:


  • Doubts concerning the price-value equation, your delivery capability and the quality of your post-sales support and other related reasons
  • It could be fear over the perceived cost of failure if you fail to deliver the claimed results.
  • The loss of credibility
  • Having to endure the boss’s grilling
  • The snide comments that results from the jealous rival

Any such surprise and the sale quickly descends into follow-up hell

How to get out of the follow-up hell

The answer is ‘Advance the sale’. Here are 4 steps that you can take to set things right and get out of the follow-up hell.

Step 1: Identify the complete set of challenges, process systems, people, budget etc. that your customer might be faced with (in purchasing and implementing your offering)

Step 2: Determine all possible mitigants and work arounds to each of these.

Step 3:  Learn –

  • About each of these challenges and how to deal with them.
  • How to unearth these challenges in their interactions with the prospect
  • How to implement the workarounds
  • How to actually use this knowledge
  • And stop merely following up


Step 4: The Key Step that you need to introduce as part of your Sales Management Process is:

  • To check if steps were taken to mitigate the potential roadblocks (to management purchase & implementation) that had been identified for each prospect
  • Tick mark the challenges identified and mitigated for each prospect; Check if any unidentified challenge (from your list) can cause the sale to fall through the cracks
  • If you can’t enumerate the challenges identified then move this case out of the ‘pipeline’ Go back to meeting the customer to identify & mitigate possible challenges


How these help (Assuming you had presented a great value proposition that the client had liked)

Once you help the prospect identify and deals with potential roadblocks to purchasing and implementing your offering, two things will happen;

  1. You’ll realize that the prospect is not really interested in, or does not have the capacity to buy your product. That means, you can now safely abandon or avoid wasting any further time with this prospect.


  1. By helping the prospect overcome all probable roadblocks or challenges, you escape descending into the follow-up hell

Importantly, you would have hastened the decision making process, in other words you would have shortened the sales cycle.