LEADING UP INSTEAD OF FOLLOWING UP by Stacey Hall

I know that many salespeople feel the sales are in the follow-up. I don’t.

I don’t enjoy checking back every few weeks to see if someone is ready to make a purchase. I feel like I am being a pain in someone’s neck if they are not ready yet to buy.  Following up to check on a potential sale makes me feel like a look desperate.
Instead, I prefer to ‘lead up.’

As the saying goes, “People don’t care how much we know. They only want to know how much we care about them.”


‘Leading up’ is about offering an ear to listen, showing empathy for what is of most importance to a prospect or customer, and most importantly, being considered as someone who genuinely cares about others even if I did not make a sale that day.

And ‘leading up’ begins before I meet a prospect.  It is the process of building a relationship from the beginning to its natural end.

For example, let’s say I’m selling weight loss products directly to consumers.

I will likely join a group on Facebook where weight loss tips are being offered and exchanged because that is where I will find people who match my ideal audience. I review their personal profiles to discover any other mutual interests we have in addition to an interest in weight loss.

Then, I will send friend requests to start conversations via private messages to get to know my prospects.

For instance, I may start the conversation like this:

• Since we are both members of [name of group], what’s the best weight loss tip you have received from someone in the group?

• What results did you get?


When we speak to people about their personal lives, we want to go slow and ask more general questions at the beginning of getting to know them. 

The answers to these questions about our common group tell me how active this person is in the group and how satisfied they are with the information shared in the group. It also lets me know how well they follow tips they receive and the strength of their commitment to losing weight.

Also, they will likely ask about the best weight loss tip I have received from the group. I respond authentically:

• I am enjoying celebrating other people’s results. I haven’t tried any tips yet because what I am doing is working so well for me. I have lost [x] pounds and I am now maintaining my ideal weight.

I don’t say anything more about what I am doing. If they are interested at that point, they will ask me. Instead, I ask this question:

• What is your goal date? I would like to cheer you on.

Most people will not have set a goal date or are sure they will not achieve their goal by their planned end date. At this point, I respond with my own authentic story, such as this:

• You may not know that I was in the same situation [x number of years or months] ago. I also did not feel I would be successful at dropping the weight by a certain date. I had tried so many different programs and none of them helped me keep the weight off. I felt disappointed and frustrated with myself. And I was embarrassed by my appearance. Does this make sense?

Along with sharing my authentic story, I’m also asking if they feel or have felt the same way as I just described. If they say no to the question, I know immediately they will not likely say yes to an offer of weight loss products because they are not aligned with the problems I described.


If this happens, I wish them all the best and move on to making more friendships with other people in the group.


If they do say yes to the question “Does this make sense?” I can then ask:

• Why does this make sense to you?

As I listen to their answer, I can find out if they do feel the same way I did. And if they do, then I ask:

• Would you like to know what I did that changed everything for me in a positive way and has helped me reach my goal and keep the weight off?

They are likely to say yes.


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Stacey Hall
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