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How long should I wait for sales follow-up?

Ryan Parlee

By Ryan Parlee

Everyone’s had the classic overbearing experience with a salesman. Maybe you were just looking at a product, and not ready to buy anything, but that dude (you know, with the cheesy tie and slicked-back hair) just won’t leave you alone to think for a hot second. Ugh. It’s the typical idea of a pesky salesman, and if you work in sales, it’s exactly what you try not to be. Often times, customers don’t like this experience because they know that they are being sold to. They can see through the sales bologna, and they want to have an experience that doesn’t leave them feeling annoyed and completely turned off.

So how can you follow-up with your prospects without making it feel super sales-y? There is a fine balance that you can achieve that keeps your client in-touch without smothering them. Here are our tips to reach that balance:


Using the inbound methodology, you will probably know a lot about your prospect before you’re ready to contact them. For instance, you might know what web pages they’ve visited, offerings they’ve downloaded or emails they’ve opened. Creepy, we know, but also super helpful when you’re ready to reach out.

But before you make contact with that client, make sure you have a specific goal in mind. No client wants to have a phone call and just chat aimlessly and hear about your day. So instead of shooting the breeze, come into the conversation with knowledge on what is valuable to them and try to understand the prospect’s challenges and goals.


The goal is to contact your client at the right time. You want to give them a little time to breathe and take in what they’ve discovered, but you don’t want to let the trail go cold. After your first-touch, and if you don’t receive a response from either your voicemail or email, you need to wait at least 48 hours before reaching out again. And, when you do reach out a second time, make sure you reposition your pitch and offer in a slightly different way.


The short answer is, it’s up to you. Each sales process is different, and many people like to craft their own formula for the best results. Sometimes that means starting out with an email while other people prefer to get their client on the line a little sooner. Take note that email inboxes can be easy to ignore while emails pile up, so be ready to have an email campaign that includes several emails to grab attention. If you’re more into getting your prospect on the phone, be prepared with a voicemail friendly version of your message.


An important part of sales is knowing when to break up. You don’t want to waste the time of your client, and you certainly don’t want to be an overbearing annoyance. Jeff Hoffman’s BASHO Sequence is a popular method to follow. It contains a series of four voicemail/email touches, and if the client hasn’t responded after the first three contact efforts, it’s time to break up.

Finding the perfect sales process can be difficult, but the best way to find what works for you is simply trial and error. Build a formula that you are comfortable with and get out there and give it a shot.

Find out how Flying Hippo and inbound marketing can rock your brand!

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