The Fortune is in the Follow Up – 5 Creative Touchpoints
The fortune is in the follow up. Please, as a salesperson, how many times have you heard that? Yet, as aware as most of us are that consistent follow up does lead to greater sales, we often drag our feet and put it off. Granted, many of us have good intentions, we have great conversations, (especially at tradeshows) collect business cards and plan to follow up. But, once we return to the office and start sifting through emails, our intention tends to slip away at least for a day. And that day turns into a week, and next it’s a month and we have yet to follow up. So we scramble and (hopefully) we send off a quick email rather than the nice note we were planning to write. Sound familiar?
You’re not alone. In fact, research shows, that only 20% of sales leads are ever followed up. Which means, 80% of potential opportunities are lost simply due to lack of follow up. Yes, the fortune is in the follow up because that is where the relationship is built and as we all know, people buy from people they know like and trust. Rather than delve into the psychology of why we would even consider leaving sales on the table, there are numerous books written on that subject, let’s just get down to business and, in the words of Nike – JUST DO IT.
First a few statistics and then a few suggestions that will ease the follow up process:
- 80% of sales occur after at least five follow-ups. Yes – FIVE (5)!
- 44% of sales people give up after one “no”
- 22% give up after two “nos”
- 14% give up after three “nos”
- 12% give up after four “nos”
This means that with 80% of sales occurring after five ‘touches’, and only 8% of sales people consistent in their follow up then only 8% of sales people are responsible for 80% of the sales. So, now you have to ask yourself, “How do I measure up? How does my team measure up”?
It’s often hard to push ourselves to action when we don’t have all the facts. Which is why I like looking at numbers, they tend to make the process a bit sobering. Understanding the numbers helps us to break our tasks into manageable steps. We know we have to follow up at least five times. Now we can set up a system to do so.
How to simplify the follow up process
It’s far easier to work a plan when you actually have a plan. So, here are suggestions you can implement for your initial five-follow ups:
- Send a handwritten note, this doesn’t have to be lengthy – just a brief HANDWRITTEN note referencing something about your meeting. Apply the KISS principle – Keep it Simple Sista’. Very few people like to read long, flowery messages, short but meaningful.
- Send an email follow up but, (this is a BIG BUT) – don’t just add these prospects to your newsletter campaign, that’s too generic. Your company’s newsletter campaign can be used as an additional touch but not part of the first five. Remember you’re still building a relationship, so send something that speaks specifically to this prospect. Is this person a foodie? Are they an avid reader? Into organics? You get the idea. Mark Wallace of the marketing firm Justellus takes it a step further by saying, “Too many sales people start follow up emails with ‘I wanted to follow up,’ ‘I wanted to check in,’ ‘I want, I want, I want, make the follow up about them and not you. If you avoid using those words, your follow up response rates will quickly increase.”
- Send a postcard – now this will depend on the type of business you have but visuals speak volumes. Representing a destination? Send a postcard highlighting the destination. A resort? Send a postcard showcasing your room product or meeting space. It takes just a few minutes to write a quick note on a postcard.
- Send a fun quiz on information you either discussed or facts they can easily answer. Nothing too elaborate. Three questions or riddles to make it fun and create engagement are sufficient.
- Use compelling content with variety to grasp attention. It’s ok to send an email follow up again as long as it contains some compelling content. This could be as simple as addressing some of their questions or concerns. Enlist the help of others through testimonials. Add some variety to your email. Perhaps share a video (this can simply be on your smart phone) that answers questions or shows something your prospect was inquiring about. Don’t trust your video skills? Try recording a short audio message. As simple as it sounds, using more than one way to reach out, keeps your follow up interesting and helps you to stand out.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the tasks that have to take place in order to stay ‘front-of-mind’ with prospects, which of course is why we tend to put off the follow up. Get the tools in place and organize your follow up system at the beginning of each quarter. It’s far easier to stay on track once a plan is in place. Every time you’re in contact you have an opportunity to advance and build the relationship, which is what every business should be doing because as we know, the fortune is in the follow up.
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