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Follow-Up Is Crucial

I was at a marketing conference recently and during one of the breaks was speaking to a fellow delegate.

During our conversation, he happened to mention that he had been aware of the organisation running the conference for many months and in attending the conference had done so in response to the 16th follow-up email (yes the 16th!) he had received from the company.

He explained that for months, the services the company were offering hadn’t been relevant to his needs, so just like the rest of us, he had simply deleted the emails as they came in – all 15 of them!

Then, one-day, email number 16 arrived – just at the right time! My fellow delegate had just started thinking about ways to improve his marketing. Email number 16 arrived. And lo and behold here he was at the conference.

The point?? Follow-up is crucial!

It got me thinking about follow-up. This graphic says it all:

Read the graphic, re-read it and then think about it for a moment.

Only 2% of sales are made on the first contact with a prospective customer or client; and only 10% of sales are made on the first, second and third contacts combined! Conversely, 80% of sales are made between the fifth and twelfth contact with a prospect

And yet, as you see from this graphic, nearly 90% of sales people have given up after contacts one, two and three- with only 10% of sales people making more than three contacts with a prospective client!

So, in other words; 90% of sales are made after the third contact by which time 90% of sales people have already given up!

Or to put it another way, 90% of sales are being made by 10% of sales people.

That sounds like an opportunity to me!

So as business owners we need to ask:

  • How many times do we follow up with prospective clients?
  • How many times do we contact a prospect after we’ve had a meeting with them?
  • Do we tend to give up after the first, second or maybe third call or email?
  • Even if we’re giving up after the eighth or ninth follow-up – we’re still giving up too soon….

So, what’s the solution?

In the busyness of the day-to-day running of our businesses, how do we keep in front of our prospects? How do we do good follow-up?

Here’s some ideas:

  • Put in place an effective follow-up strategy that you use every time you meet or talk to a prospect.
  • Make sure the follow-up strategy includes a mix of some or all the following: emails, phone calls, texts, direct mail. In other words, mix it up a bit, don’t just flood them with meaningless emails.
  • A follow-up strategy shouldn’t be a “hit and miss affair” – it should be deliberate and thought through.
  • It also needs to be regular and consistent – don’t go for weeks when your prospect never hears from you and then suddenly you blitz them with 10 emails in the course of a week. That is neither regular nor consistent and certainly not strategic.
  • Use a CRM system to automate the process of following up. Once it’s set up you’ll save a lot of time in the long run.
  • Create an ongoing “nurture sequence” which is a great way of keeping in contact with your prospects and clients in a “non-salesy” way – a blog or a newsletter is a great way to do this.

Bottom line, you need to have a follow-up system in place for keeping in regular contact with prospects and potential clients.

And it needs to be a follow-up system that is strategic, meaningful, helpful and consistent.

If you’re not doing that, then you’re leaving money on the table.

And when that happens, both you and your prospective clients lose out.