For many of us we are so consumed with finding new clients and making more sales that we sometimes forget to make sure that we have a firm grasp on our current client base. It is literally 10x harder to find new prospects than to just make sure that our current customers use us again in the future. Remember, people don’t leave companies, they leave people.
Most common reasons why we don’t follow up:
1. We don’t want to come across as pushy. It may be true that following up too frequently can by annoying. However, very few people ever come close to crossing this line. As sales professional it is our responsibility to keep following up with our prospects until we know for certain if they want to do business with us.
2. We forget. It’s easy to forget considering how busy we are. We may have every intention of following up with our prospect but we get caught up in daily life. Unexpected problems crop up and we find ourselves spending more time in meetings, checking email, stuck in traffic, and so forth. The point is we get busy, this is not a priority so it doesn’t’ get done. It’s like anything else; if you don’t schedule, it won’t get done.
3. We make false assumptions. Let me ask you this, have you ever told someone that you would follow up at a certain time then didn’t? Maybe you got sick, got caught in a meeting or lost their number but for some reason you didn’t follow up on time. For many of us we would rather pass up on potential business instead of risking the chance of looking unprofessional or unreliable to a prospective client so we don’t follow up or we wait too long and the opportunity is gone.
When someone doesn’t immediately return our emails or phone calls, the natural assumption is ‘they weren’t interested’ – even when this assumption is not verified. I have learned from experience that a lack of response can often be attributed to the fact that the other person is just too busy to respond or they simply forget (like we do). Most of us think that if we have done a good enough job that we will automatically get repeat business or that our prospects will call us back – in other words we don’t need to follow up. This is the most common mistake modern day sales people make.
4. We are not sure who to follow up with, what to send, what to say or how often we should do it. Many people have never received formal sales training and have not learned why they should follow-up and how to make it happen. For many salespeople, service and follow-up activities are often the most overlooked part of the sales cycle. But if it’s repeat business and client retention that you are after, it’s your service and follow up that will get you there.
For many of us, extensive follow up pre-meeting and post-meeting is required in order to get the sale but following up after the sale is just as important. We need to continually provide our clients with valuable information and let them know month after month that they made a good decision when they purchased from us and it is still a great decision today.
How many of you have been contacted by a sales person that you bought something from 30 days later? 3 months later? 6 months later? 1 year later? How many of you used that same sales person when you went back to re-purchase a similar product or service? My guess is that you used whoever contacted you most recently or you used someone that was recently referred to you… and I don’t blame you!
Although some methods of selling have changed, the basic principle will always be to locate and maintain customers. It took you a lot to bring them in, now it’s time to keep them. Remember, prospects become customers and customers are your best prospects.
Make a list of every person you need to be following up with and then divide that list into categories; Personal Contacts, Clients, Prospects, Industry Colleagues, Referrals
Take these lists and choose 1 category of follow up from the following chapter and start reaching out to these people on a regular and consistent basis. Repetition is key.
You may access a free online memory jogger at www.southwesternconsulting.com/followup/memoryjogger