12 Sales Follow-Up Techniques for Maximum Results in 2023

12 Sales Follow-Up Techniques for Maximum Results in 2023

Life is all about the follow-up. Especially when it comes to sales.

It’s easy to focus on the initial contact. The first meeting. The email you’ve sent to someone important. You reach out to someone and then feel good about yourself. You’ve done your job, you’ve pitched and reached out. You’ve asked for a meeting/call/etc. Now all you have to do is sit around and wait for them to respond.

And that’s the problem—you have no follow-up hustle.

I get it. You don’t want to be a pain in the ass. We all want to avoid being annoying at the risk of getting rejected. The key is to keep it short and sweet yet remain persistent.

Most people will contact someone once and then wait around for that person to get back to them. That’s the completely wrong approach.

My Sales Follow-Up Philosophy

I have a simple philosophy: I follow up as many times as necessary until I get a response. I don’t care what the response is as long as I get one. If someone tells me they need another 14 days to get back to me, I will put that in my calendar and ping them again in 14 days.

If they tell me they are busy and they don’t have time right now, I will respond and ask them when they feel like a good time would be for me to ping them. The key here is to actually keep following up. If someone tells me they are not interested—I leave them alone.

But here is the kicker—if they don’t respond at all, I will keep pinging them until they do. And trust me, they always do. :)

Once I followed up with an investor 48 times until I got a meeting. Now mind you, this investor was introduced to me and had responded positively to my initial email, but then disappeared in limbo and I couldn’t get hold of him anymore.

He finally responded, we met, and he ended up investing.

And I'm not the only one that has seen results with my follow-up strategy. Here's just one example of someone who applied this strategy and the results he saw:

Brandon Gracey on Steli's sales follow up philosophy

Another story of someone who followed up relentlessly? James Altucher wanted to work for a billionaire investor. He got his foot in the door by cold emailing the guy for a whole year.

Or this guy who just emailed me recently after putting my follow-up advice into practice:

Email about a 9th follow up email being successful

Here's what another reader has said:

"My life changed after I started implementing your follow-up advice. The only thing that can make me stop following up is my prospect.
Today I closed a deal that started 5 months ago. 32 touchpoints, including e-mail, Whatsapp, and phone-calls. In the past, I'd have stopped following up long ago (and lost the deal). Thanks to the follow-up, I finally got a response: They had a crisis at their company and froze all partnerships. Once the crisis was resolved, I was there—at the right time, and closed the deal.
I won at least 15% more deals just by putting your follow-up advice into action."

- Thiago Dantas, Head of Sales, Vulpi

I literally get these kinds of emails all the time.

"I just won a new investor client thanks to Steli's follow-up advice. 9 ½ months, 28 e-mails and I don't know how many calls and messages, but it's a €100,000 starting ticket that was well worth the effort. "

- Marko Rant, Director, Invoice Exchange

And people tweet me their follow-up wins:

email outbox showing 11 follow up emails

How to Follow Up Like a Pro

Following up is more art than science. The more you do it, the better you get at it. Nothing can replace building strong follow-up habits. To give you a starting point, here’s how I think about following up.

How Often Should You Follow Up?

If you reach out completely cold and never had any interaction with the other person, follow up a maximum of six times. You really don’t have the type of relationship that gives you permission to do much more than that.

If you already had some kind of interaction and that interaction was not a clear, definite NO, then follow up as long as it takes to get a response. Never stop till you get a response.

The Right Follow-Up Frequency

Here’s a general schema for timing your follow-ups:

Day 1: First follow-up (+2)

Day 3: Follow-up (+4)

Day 7: Follow-up (+7)

Day 14: Follow-up (+14)

Day 28: Follow-up (+30)

Day 58: Follow-up (+30)

… (from there on once a month).

I use our sales CRM to create automated sales Sequences that include both calls and emails. These Sequences mirror your most successful follow-up frequency, and you can adjust them over time as needed.

Emails will be sent out automatically on the schedule that you specify, and you'll be notified when it's time to call. Best of all, you can see at a glance how your leads are responding to each follow-up in your Sequence.

screenshot of close CRM follow up

(You can sign up for a free trial here, no credit card required.)

If you're not a Close customer, you can use Google calendar or tasks to set up reminders, but I find those suboptimal—too much friction.

These Aren’t Hard Rules, They’re Guidelines

It all depends on the context, the situation, the relationship, and interactions you had with the other person.

For example, if you follow up with an incredibly busy and important CEO of a large enterprise, don’t send another follow-up email tomorrow, and two days later, and four days later. Give them more time, maybe 4–7 days until your first follow-up. Maybe follow up once a week. If you know this person gets 5,000 emails a day, be respectful of that fact.

Which Medium is Best for Following Up—Email or Phone?

This depends on what you’re after. Do you want to optimize for a) quick response or b) positive outcome?

If you optimize for a quick response (because an issue is time-sensitive) then a phone call is the best medium. However, it’s also a lot easier to come across as annoying, so the risk of turning a "maybe" into a "no" is much higher.

If you call me ten times in two days, I’m probably going to turn you down even if I was actually interested. Because I’ll think, "Geez, working with this person is too much pain, I’ll pass."

If you optimize for a positive outcome, then email is the best medium for follow-ups. But sending me a monthly email might take years.

The 12 Follow-Up Techniques You Need to Know

Enough with the background info. Let’s get started on breaking down our most effective sales follow-up techniques! For every possible stage in the sales cycle, whether you want to follow up by email, phone, video message, or even fax! (Yup, there's a time and place for that, even for handwritten cards, or actually showing up in person.)

1. Follow Up by Email With Email Templates

Keep it short, upbeat, and professional.

Email #1: “Hey [first name], how is it going? Can we schedule a time to talk this week?”
Email #2: “Hey [first name], we got some new press coverage [link]. I’d love to pick up on our conversation. When’s a good time to chat?”
Email #3: “Hey [first name], can we hop on a quick call Wednesday 4 p.m. or Thursday 11 a.m.?



P.S. Thought you might find this article interesting: [link]"

You get the idea.

Close's email sequences feature allows you to automatically enroll your prospects in a follow-up email sequence.

You can enroll a large group of prospects, or enroll people manually—whatever best matches your way of managing leads.

This isn't just a typical email cadence workflow tool—Close's built-in email sequences feature is optimized specifically for sales teams to follow up with prospects in the most effective manner. Let automation handle the busywork for you, and use in-depth sequence reporting to optimize each step of your follow-up sequence.

Close CRM screenshot of email follow up sequence success rate

Start creating your own email & phone sequences in Close today and see how they can transform your sales emailing game. Sign up for a free 14-day trial!

2. Show Product Value With Your Sales Follow-Up Email

Remind your potential customers what value your solution provides. Remind them of their pain point (in a subtle manner) and confirm how you can solve the problem.

An effective sales tactic here is to use client testimonials, reviews, or social proof in your email to convey the value.

Here’s an example:

Subject: How we solved [pain point] with our {solution}

Hi [prospect],

We understand that dealing with {pain points} can be difficult, and this is how Close has helped our existing clients manage the process successfully:
  1. [proof/testimonial]
  2. [proof/testimonial]
  3. [proof/testimonial]
  4. [proof/testimonial]
  5. [proof/testimonial]

Best regards,

[your name]

PS: Read more of our case studies here [link]

Find out more about follow up email examples for every sales scenario.

3. Follow Up by Phone

With follow-up calls, there’s a higher risk that your follow-up will annoy the other person.

If you tried to call three times and the other person didn’t pick up the phone, call again and leave a voice mail.

That’s it. More than three missed calls and one voicemail can be perceived as too invasive, annoying, and even desperate if placed over a short period of time.

If you're dealing with a large number of leads, a proper pipeline management tool can help streamline the follow-up process. For example, our CRM with a built-in predictive dialer can help you call a large number of phone numbers in a short amount of time—much faster than doing it manually.

4. Follow Up in Person

If it’s a do-or-die situation, you can show up at their office. It’s the best way to make sure you get attention, but it’s also really intrusive. So make sure you play this trump card only when it’s warranted.

5. Follow Up on Social Media

I don’t do this, but some people like to tap into internal social media as another way to stay on the other person’s radar. Doing things like retweeting or favoriting a tweet, sending a LinkedIn invite, liking or commenting on their status updates or posts.

The main piece of advice I can give here is to not overdo this and don’t come across as a creepy borderline stalker. LinkedIn is actually a great platform for B2B sales—check out our tips on how to do LinkedIn outreach right.

6. Follow Up with Handwritten Notes

Use your judgment if you want to do this or not. It’s just another weapon in your arsenal.

Depending upon the interactions you had and the relationship you share with them, a handwritten note can still make an impression.

Gary Vaynerchuck wrote about how one of his clients uses handwritten notes as an opportunity to connect with customers.

If you can make it work and it’s authentic and it makes a difference—do it. If it’s awkward, forced, and cheesy, don’t.

7. Follow Up by Fax

“It’s 2022. We’re a startup. Fax? Are you serious?”


If they didn’t respond to your emails, and they didn’t pick up the phone, why not send them a fax?

Because nobody uses fax anymore!

Exactly. It’s the least cluttered medium you can use.

There are still approximately 46 million (active) fax machines, and around 17 billion faxes get sent each year.

Again, view it as another tool at your disposal. 99% of cases you won’t need it, but every once in a while, it might make a difference.

8. Use Personalized Video Follow-Ups

Sales professionals have found success with tactics that are out of the box, such as an engaging video addressed directly to their prospects.

In today’s world, recording a personalized video is easier than you think and can be highly effective in closing deals.

Keep this as natural as possible and to the point. Read our guide on making a sales pitch video that converts in 8 simple steps.

Use Personalized Video Follow-Ups

9. Know Which Sales Channel Works the Best

Don’t waste time on any channels that are not converting. When sales reps engage prospects that match their ideal customer profile through the sales channel that works best, they'll be much more successful.

Analyze the conversion rates and response rates from cold calling, email, text messages, referrals as well as sales outreach to define your channels.

10. Clearly Specify the Next Steps

Be specific with your prospective client about what happens next in the process.

For example, if you have had a demo with a client or a sales pitch, book the next meeting right there and then and get their commitment.

If the prospect’s company needs to view proposals from other companies, try to stand out and remain top of mind by being specific and well organized.

If necessary try to get a decision-maker involved in the process and check in with your prospects a day before your planned meeting.

11. Keep it Brief but Effective

When following up with new customers, keep it punchy and to the point, and be cautious of rambling on too much.

Often sales calls can be shorter than expected due to busy schedules, so aim to be intentional, to the point and show value as soon as possible.

Here's a proven script for opening a sales follow up call:

"Hey John, I'm super excited about the call today. I want to be respectful of your time, and I have another call in exactly fifteen minutes. I think that's going to be plenty of time for us to accomplish everything we need, so let's get down to it. Let's talk about your objections and the questions, and move this forward."

12. Evaluate Your Sales Follow-Up Strategies

Take time to measure your results and evaluate in order to refine your sales process. Evaluate client engagement points such as email marketing open rates, response rates, and conversion rate as well as which call to action (CTA) elements have worked the best.

In your next set of sales follow-ups, use this data to further gain your prospect’s attention and increase your conversion rates.

Follow Up Do’s & Don’ts

Stay persistently friendly and nice. Have an attitude of indifference if they don’t respond. Impress them by staying on top of your game.

Keep it short. Avoid long-winded formalities. If they’re a good customer, they’ll probably be busy individuals who value their time. It’s annoying to read through three paragraphs of meaningless pleasantries, and smart people will know they’re meaningless copy+paste phrases you use on every lead. Be nice, but get to the point.

Provide value. (optional) Know and understand their wants and needs well enough to be able to offer them something relevant. It can be an article or something else that they’ll appreciate getting. (In general, clear, simple and concise works best). But keep your objective in mind—giving things away is not selling. It’s a jab, not a right hook.

Never ever make them feel or do anything guilt-inducing. Avoid saying things like “Why haven’t you responded to me so far? I've sent you 10 emails already!!!”

The Fortune is in the Follow-Up

Most people will assume that there is no interest if they don't get a response to their email and will stop following up.

I don’t. I simply assume that the person is busy and that I need to follow up until they have a moment to respond. If I keep reaching out, my chances of getting to that perfect moment are massively higher. I’m a salesperson—it’s my responsibility to maintain the relationship and move the conversation forward.

That’s how you get things done that others don’t. That’s how you get meetings that others don’t. You follow up. And you never ever stop ... until you get the job done!

The follow-up is the most underrated part of the startup hustle. Get ahead of the competition by grabbing your free copy of The Follow-Up Formula.