How many times should I follow up a prospects before it is considered harassment?

As small business owners we tend to follow up once or twice with a prospect then assume they are not interested. We feel to follow up more than twice would be harassment!

I get it nobody wants to be “that” person who does not stop calling. Whilst I would never phone anyone every day and fall into the harassment zone, we can follow up in a respectful way.

Research has shown, 80% of sales require 5 follow-up phone calls after the meeting.


The reality is that most people are not ready to buy when we speak to them. That does not mean they are not interested, it means we need to respectfully build the relationship and nurture the lead.

I once had not heard back from a prospect and assumed she wasn’t interested. I plucked up the courage to call, and it turned out she had been off work for several weeks as her husband had been in hospital. I had wasted so much energy making it about ME ‘she’s not interested’, ‘maybe I didnt present it very well’ ‘make she didn’t like my style’.  It was nothing to do with me!

People are busy, people have busy jobs and busy lives. If we give up after one or two follow ups it is often more about our fears of rejection which I totally get and have felt the same!

So let’s take the emotion out of it and make it a process we follow. Unless a prospect says no or asks us not to, let’s schedule 5 follow up touch points in a respectful way.

We do not need to be salesy and say ‘have you made a decision yet’ we can simply call and say ‘ I wanted to check in and see how you are doing, is there any additional information I can provide you’ etc. Better still, make it about adding value to the client e.g. ‘I wanted to share a new case study we have just done with a client with similar challenges to yourself. I thought this may be of interest.’

Take Action:

  • How many times do you follow up with a prospect? Aim for 5 times (if appropriate)
  • How do you track this to ensure it gets done? Make life easy, use a CRM to do this.

TIP: Use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system to track opportunities & schedule reminders for 5+ follow ups (depending what is required in each circumstance).

This is an easy and quick fix to avoid leaving sales on the table. Free CRM systems are available from companies such as Hubspot CRM, and Capsule (up to 250 contacts).

(Sources used: The Marketing Donut.) 

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