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Most salespeople are pretty good at selling. But as any salesperson knows, the odds of someone picking up a phone, answering your email just as soon as you hit send, or signing a contract at a networking event are virtually nonexistent.

7 Ways to Stop Annoying Your Sales ProspectsThat’s where selling becomes following up, something that salespeople are less good at. They might try to include their pitch in a check in message. They might follow up with the exact same message over and over (and over). Or they might just not follow up at all. Regardless of the specific snag, there are a lot of pitfalls reps can fall prey to in the art of the follow up.

Check-in messaging should be tailored to how a rep originally came across the person and how much they got to know about them during that encounter. With this caveat in mind, here are seven steps I recommend to design an effective (and not annoying) follow-up strategy.

1. Do your research

Google the person, check out their company and/or personal website, and review their social media accounts. Find out what you can about who they are and the issues their company is tackling.

2. Don’t sell!

The email, voicemail, or conversation should be about them, not you, your company, or your product/service. Once they are a qualified prospect you will have plenty of opportunity to help them get to know your company, and if they are interested — trust me — they have already been online reading about you and what others say about you.

3. Add value

Find resources that will be interesting to your prospect, and share them.

4. Be personal

Don’t send the same message to everyone. Tailor the message to each individual based on your meeting, your research, and their need.

5. Be persistent

Give them plenty of opportunities to respond. People are busy. It’s your job to stay in front of them and reach them.

6. Stay connected

Show them you are paying attention. Keep up with them and their company, and if they’re featured in the news or release a major announcement, send a note with an appropriate comment. Stay connected on social media. Like, comment on, and share their posts.

7. Assume the best

Even if they don’t buy from you, if you do a good job on the above, they may refer you to someone they know, or come back when they do have a need.

To get more sales tips, check out, Sphere of Influence Selling: An Inside Sales Approach to Crushing Your Quota.

7 Ways to Stop Annoying Your Sales Prospects

This post originally appeared on AliceHeiman.com

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