For many reps, the follow up call turns out to be more challenging than the first contact. Yes, even compared to cold calls. There are a lot of things at stake during follow up calls since they’re usually where the prospect starts really moving along the sales funnel.

Follow up calls are where reps can really flex their muscles when it comes to understanding prospects and adding value. They are where reps can actually start establishing a solid relationship.

Having a battery of follow up strategies and techniques is absolutely vital to a high-performing sales rep.

It all begins with knowing what a good follow up call looks like and what its objectives are. Check out this list.

Make yourself hard to forget

When dealing with first-time prospects, make sure to do something that will make you hard to forget.

A simple one you can do is send a thank you note. There are services like Handiemail which can send handwritten notes on your behalf. Sending a note saying something simple like “Hi Brenda! Thanks for your time today. I look forward to our conversation on the 20th!”

This gesture lets the client know that you value their time and that you made the effort to do something unique for them. Better than a thank you email, right? Sending something memorable–doesn’t have to be grand, elaborate, or expensive–lets you make an impression and hopefully stay in their memory. Jim Domanski calls this “building equity” with your prospect.

Commitment is the goal

Many reps make the mistake of not asking for a specific date and time for a follow up call toward the end of the initial contact. Prospects saying things like “Let’s touch base in the next few weeks.” just do not cut it. From your side, saying “I’ll send everything within this week.” won’t assure anything. This practice will result in never getting that follow up call, circling around, and making the sales process painfully slow.

The right thing to do? Just ask for their availability for a particular date and time.

“I will send you all the details through email. I’d like to call you on Tuesday, 9:30 am Eastern, to go over the details and determine the next steps if any. Is that a good time?”

Keep on recommending different times until you find an available slot for the call. Specificity and creating urgency are powerful tools in sales. Use them to your advantage.

No more empty follow ups

Many sales reps are caught in the “touching base” and “checking in” cycle. The truth is, if you’re dealing with a decision-maker, they probably get a lot of emails of this nature. But you think, what’s the worst that could happen? Well, your messages can be filtered into the “Pesky Salespeople” tab. No good.

Each time you reach out, make sure you have something to say or send something valuable.

There are a couple of ways to do this:

1. Reference a past conversation and build up on a portion that emphasizes your solution’s business value to them.

Louis, you mention in our last call that you want to get the ball rolling quickly once we establish the savings you’ll make with us this year. Let’s get on a call on Tuesday, 3:00 pm Eastern to discuss this in detail. I attached a simple overview to this email. How does that sound?

2. Business leaders are always interested in looking for ways to improve their operations. In B2B selling, what prospects are looking for are ways to add to their bottom line and improve revenue performance. Show them how your product figures in one of those ways.

Louis, I’ve been spending time thinking of ways we can help you pull your churn rate down. I thought you might be interested in how we helped XCompany improve their when they were in the same spot last year. Do you have a few moments on Tuesday morning for a quick chat?

3. Some prospects like your solution but lack the full view or understanding as to how you could really help them. The shortcoming is from your side–you really can’t stop educating your prospects not only about your product but more importantly about their industry, business challenges, and how solutions like yours are being adopted widely. A good way to do this is to send them content that will help them understand it better.

Louis, I know this is a huge decision to shift from your current setup. We have this piece (ebook, case study, article) you might be interested in. Let’s connect on Tuesday to go over your concerns. Is that fine?

These follow up approaches may sound like a lot of work, but this spells the difference between freezing leads and keeping them moving. Using these tactics, you will also improve yourself as salesperson–you get to know more about your industry, get yourself familiar with the challenges of your targets and prospects, and ultimately build your confidence because you never call them empty handed so to speak.

Remember, in order to be seen as a partner and an expert, you need to stop being seen as a pesky salesperson first. Entirely drop the practice of just checking in and circling back. You need to be a valuable asset and resource in their quest to improve their business. Let that be known.