I recently received this question from a colleague: “You have advised against following up with prospects by saying ‘I’m just touching base.’ I’m struggling to find a decent alternative. What do you recommend?”

True, “touching base” is not the best approach. But it’s not just about finding replacement phrases such as “checking in” or “catching up.” When you leave messages like this, your prospects will delete them in a nanosecond. Worse yet, they’ll see you as just another pesky salesperson — not good.

Here’s the deal: To keep sales momentum alive, you need to provide value at every interaction — even a quick follow-up call. That means you need to rethink your entire callback strategy.

Here are three approaches which have worked for me: 

1. Re-emphasize business value.

Your prospects will agree to change only if you can have a positive impact on their organizations. Reiterate it. Remind them of how you can help. You might say, “Pat, in our previous conversation you mentioned how important it was to get going on this so you can realize the savings [eliminate redundancies, drive incremental growth] you need by year’s end. Let’s set up time to talk so we can get you moving forward.”

2. Share ideas and insights.

Your prospects want to work with someone who’s constantly thinking about ways to improve their businesses. Be that person. You might say: “Pat, I’ve thought some more about how we can help you increase sales [reduce costs, improve productivity]. You might be interested in what we did for XYZ Corp. when they were dealing with a similar challenge. Do you have a few minutes for a quick conversation?”

3. Continue to educate.

Sometimes, your prospects are still asking themselves if it makes sense to move forward. From the outside, you’re not able to tell. But you can keep giving them more reasons to change. You might say: “Pat, I know it’s a big decision to change from the status quo. That’s why I thought you might be interested in this article [ROI calculator, case study, webinar, ebook]. Let’s set up a time to work through your questions.”

See the difference? You’re providing value, even though they already said they were interested, told you to check back next week or explained that they just needed to get the paperwork done.

Drop “touching base” from your vocabulary entirely. When making follow up calls, become an asset in your prospects’ decision-making process. Show them that choosing to work with you is a no-brainer.

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