If you are like me and have ever worked exclusively in a sales/marketing position, you have be constantly reminded that “the fortune is in the follow-up.” The problem with that statement is that the people you are trying to follow-up with often don’t make following up with them easy. You may even ask, “Do you mind if I give you a call to set up a time we can meet?” And after the “yes” you set this new potential client/customer up in your follow-up system and find that the great majority of them don’t really want to talk with you.
Now I know that sales is a “numbers game.” (Or at least I’m told it is!) I am also aware that in order to get people to be willing to buy from you, you have to be willing to make your product/service valuable in the eyes of your customers/clients. However, I am not sure that our follow-up programs should be designed to simply outlast your prospect’s resistance.
Let me make three quick suggestions that will help your follow-up system be more successful:
- Follow-up when you have information valuable to an individual prospect. Just sending out generic emails is like throwing mud at the wall just to see what will stick. I don’t know about you, but my time is valuable and to wade through a bunch of stuff that means nothing to me makes me pretty cranky. By the time you send out something I might be interested in, I am probably going to pass it up without looking based on all the stuff you sent that I didn’t care about.
- Remember more about the potential client than what information is available on his/her business card. This really gets back to the idea of personalizing your follow-up. If your client is married with kids or single, likes golf but not tennis, is politically conservative or liberal, you need to address them from their life’s perspective. This concern to personalize your follow-up will be noticed and appreciated. When you then make a purchase suggestion, they will be more willing to listen.
- Use multiple methods to get your follow-up message in front of your customer. Send cards, emails, make phone calls, even stop by to drop something off every now and again. By varying your follow-up methods you will have more chance to make yourself valuable to the prospect. That value will translate into more sales with fewer rejections (something every business/salesman appreciates).
In the end, remember that you have to make a positive impression on the prospect. He/she needs to see you as a valuable asset to them and someone that they should spend time getting to know and doing business with. If you are frustrated by follow-up it may be because you are throwing mud at the wall!