Being a successful salesperson isn’t built on the foundation that you think it is. Sure, a salesperson who has a high close rate, is reliable and consistent, and has a robust network to use as a resource could be deemed as “successful.” But the typical sales standard is changing. Today’s consumers don’t enjoy being sold to. Instead, they want someone to be a resource to them, respect their process and provide them with the information they can use in their day-to-day demands. 

As the sales approach evolves, what constitutes as successful for sales professionals has evolved along with it. There’s a difference between selling and nurturing. Now, successful is being able to build long-lasting, trustworthy relationships, achieved by listening to people, maintaining contact with them, and sending them valuable content they can use and learn from. 

But how do you achieve that success? Well, the way you choose your initial follow-up is key. Your method, be it email or phone, can determine if the relationship progresses, or if your contact becomes just another lost opportunity. So even though you have additional questions you need them to answer that will help you be a better resource and move them through the funnel, you can’t tread too lightly or too heavily and risk ruining the relationship.

Don’t scare off your prospects by using the wrong follow-up method. Consider the pros and cons of each so you can choose the best tactic.

Phone Follow-Up: Pros

Trust and Credibility

Following-up via a sales call can give your business more credibility. Think about it. You’re proving to your prospect that you’re an actual human being, which can make them feel more at ease with your outreach and the process in which you’re choosing to maintain the relationship. It also can help you win extra trust points because you’re showing them that you’re taking time out of your day to touch base in a more personal way. Customers are more likely to buy from someone they trust, as well as recommend you to a friend when asked for a referral. 

More Sales

Another added benefit of the phone follow-up method is that it can result in more sales. Since you already have your contact on the phone, you can easily slip in mentions of any special promotions you’re currently running, or special offers that you think they may be interested in. Offering promos via phone allows you to answer any questions they have in real-time and quickly, and to expedite a sales process that could have taken tons of back and forth email communication. 

Phone Follow-Up: Cons

One and Done

As we established in the previous point, following up via phone is great for answering questions in real-time. However, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and it applies here. When you give prospects the chance to ask all the questions they have at once, there won’t be a reason for them to talk to you further. The sales process should be a journey, not a race. You want to make sure you create numerous touchpoints in the process so you can provide your prospects with varying resources as they travel through the funnel. After all, a more educated lead that has a longer sales cycle makes for a more promising partner down the line, so don’t rush things by checking off numerous boxes in your first phone call.

Coming On Too Strong

Let’s state the obvious: Most people consider constant phone calls from salespeople spam or just downright annoying. I’m sure it goes without saying, but constantly calling your prospects, hoping to get them on the phone so you can sell them something isn’t the way to go about phone follow-up. Refusing to comply with common phone courtesy and being pushy can result in prospects avoiding your calls and blocking your number. If that happens, say goodbye to building a relationship and any chance of signing them as a partner.

Also, some people may consider phone follow-up a bit abrasive. They may not find it as a natural way to engage in a conversation with you, or they may not be ready to engage that way yet. The only way phone follow-up should be used is if you’re familiar enough with your prospect and know they’ll be comfortable with that kind of approach.

Email Follow-Up: Pros


Following-up via email is a great, non-threating way to touch base with your leads. You can keep your emails short and to the point, which won’t occupy too much of your prospects’ time and will keep your communication direct. Also, email follow-up doesn’t place pressure on your leads to respond ASAP, as a phone call does. Instead, you’re giving them time to think and respond, and you’re not asking them to interrupt what they’re doing to get back to you. 


Drip campaigns, or email nurture campaigns, are ways you can follow-up with your leads but in a way that provides them with information and resources that they need. Based on where they are in the buyer’s journey, you can send them information on your software or service offerings, and do so in a way that isn’t demanding they make a decision. Instead, you’re educating them so they can make an informed decision when they’re ready. You’re also moving them through the funnel at a comfortable pace. Your leads will appreciate the lack of urgency, and through consistency, you’ll stay top-of-mind with them.

Email Follow-Up: Cons

Easily Ignored

The drawback of email follow-up is that customers can easily ignore your email. Even if they have the best intentions of getting back to you, they could get busy, and the next thing you know, it’s been two months and you haven’t heard back from them. This is why personalization and consistent follow-up is crucial when it comes to email. Practicing both of these methods will ensure you’re communication stands out, and it can reduce any likelihood of your emails getting ignored or forgotten. 

Marked As Spam

With every email sent, there is a possibility that it will never get seen. Email spam filters are sensitive, so unless you’re practicing the right email marketing methods, your outreach could be DOA. Follow simple rules that will keep you out of the spam folder, like regularly cleaning up email lists, being CAN-SPAM compliant, and avoiding common spam triggers, like capitalizing words in subject lines.

Whatever follow-up you choose, the most important thing to remember is to listen to your gut. If your gut is telling you that the prospect you’re reaching out to would rather hear from you via email, then send an email. Don’t be pushy, come on too strong, or be too focused on selling. That approach, be it via email or phone, will not sit well with your leads and will hurt any chance you have of building a long-lasting, healthy relationship with them.