follow upNow is the perfect time to follow up with your clients, prospects, and Referral Sources.

When I attended this year’s Dreamforce conference, I heard numerous speakers and presenters echo the same valuable message I’ve been stressing for years—the importance of following up.

Mark Hunter and Andy Paul revealed that 40 to 80 percent of sales leads are never followed up on. Although I’ve witnessed this brand of laziness first-hand, I was still shocked that salespeople could pass up so many opportunities to sell. As Andy Paul put it, “Sales leads are like lottery tickets. They won’t all be winners, but you don’t know until you engage.”

Not only is it important to follow up on leads. Successful salespeople regularly follow up with every important contact—including leads, prospects, clients (current and former), and Referral Sources.

Now is the perfect time to touch base with everyone in your professional network. Reach out and ask what’s going on with them. Offer helpful suggestions as they wrap up the year. Find out if they have any questions for you as they plan for 2014. Or just say “Happy Holidays.” Either way, don’t let the year end without reminding them that you exist, that you’re there to help, and that you build your business through referrals.

For more referral-selling success secrets, check out the latest from No More Cold Calling:

4 Tips for Holiday Networking Success

It’s the most wonderful time of the year … and the most hectic. You’ve probably already accepted invitations to holiday office parties and client events. Now come the questions: Should you bring your spouse or partner? What should you wear? (That might be an X-chromosome thing.) What will you talk about? Whom do you want to meet? How many cups of eggnog are too many? Will you know anyone there? Whether you dread holiday parties or can’t wait for all the fun to start, here are a few networking success secrets. (Read “4 Tips for Holiday Networking Success.”)

My Data Is Better Than Your Data

“The best reason to do something is because it’s never been done before.” That’s what my first manager told me, and I’ve never forgotten her comment. I learned a long time ago that statistics are just that—statistics. Numbers can be configured to support almost any hypothesis. So what do you do? Go along with the pack and chase after the next bright, shiny object? Or create your own path? If you put a stake in the ground for your beliefs and follow your gut, you will leave your competition in the dust. (Read “My Data Is Better Than Your Data.”)

Free eBook for the Holidays

Over the next couple of weeks, you might actually find time to sit back and relax with a good book. It’s not cheating if that book happens to be something that will help you become a better salesperson in 2014. Though I have been promoting my new book, Pick Up the Damn Phone!, for a couple of months now, I also recently published a free eBook, “Facebook and Face Time Matter: The Role of Technology in Sales.” It’s a great way for you to try out that shiny, new tablet over the holidays. Then you can pass it along to friends and colleagues. Download it here.

Message to Management: Their Failures Are Your Failures

Want to hire and retain people who are “off the charts” brilliant? Then your sales force needs the right tools for success. You need a system that management can use to coach behaviors, not criticize outcomes. Just as importantly, you need sales leaders, not just sales managers. Guest blogger Donal Daly explains how sales managers can become sales leaders. (Read “Message to Management: Their Failures Are Your Failures.”)

4 Things You Should Never Do at a Tradeshow

Working a tradeshow is tough. I know. I’ve done it. However, isn’t your goal to connect with people, engage them in conversation, identify key prospects, and leave with follow-up actions? Why, then, do so many tradeshow attendees treat people who visit their booths like a nuisance—just more people they have to talk to? When you don’t treat every prospect you meet at tradeshows like potential customers, you’re wasting your time and theirs. (Read “4 Things You Should Never Do at a Tradeshow.”)

You’re Living in a Warm Call Fantasy

You’ve researched prospects on social media, identified trigger events, and gathered information from social intelligence. You even have mutual connections on LinkedIn. So you send emails making the business case for why these prospects should talk to you. You really believe you’re not cold calling, because you know all about them and even have a few “friends” in common. You’re sending “warm” emails, right? Wrong! Unless you have secured a referral introduction from a mutual connection, your lead is freezing cold. (Read “You’re Living in a Warm Call Fantasy.”)

Put Your Phone Away, or Pay Up

Many professionals are now creating games and rules to ensure that technology addiction doesn’t disrupt their personal lives. Have you heard of phone stacking? It works like this: You and your friends are at a restaurant. You all put your cell phones in the center of the table. Whoever is the first to look at his or her phone pays the bill. What’s wrong with the picture when we must play games in order to engage in conversation? Sounds misguided to me. But I guess it’s better than the alternative. (Read “Put Your Phone Away, or Pay Up.”)

Pick Up the Damn Phone and Seal the Deal

You’ve heard it: Television will kill radio. Video killed the radio star. And social media and the Internet will eliminate the time-consuming, face-to-face aspect of sales. Um, no. Even in Sales 2.0, the most powerful tool in your sales toolbox is still you!

My new book, Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal, explores how salespeople can tap into the invaluable sales intelligence that new technologies provide and still prioritize what really matters in business—relationships.

Pick Up the Damn Phone! is now available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble. Or get the digital version for your Kindle or Nook.