Effective Follow up Strategies to stop your leads going cold
We’ve all been there – you get a great enquiry from an interested customer, you’ve talked, asked and answered questions, they are absolutely hooked and then….. you never hear from them again.
If you sit there just waiting, you are guilty of ‘failing to follow up’ and it’s one of the most common reasons why you don’t make more sales. So let’s have a look at some practical tips to boost your success rate with follow up:
1. Agree the next step before you say goodbye
When you are speaking with a customer and the conversation is about to conclude, you need to have some sort of ‘next step’ in mind and agree it with them before you say goodbye to one another. So it could be to send information, book the next meeting, contact someone else in the team or find out something important. It could be you (most likely) but it could be them – the point is that you are ensuring the relationship goes forward i.e. closer to a sale! Then, whatever you have agreed, send an email confirming it.
2. Act Fast
Once you have agreed to send some sort of information, make sure you do it straight away – ideally as soon as you hang up the phone or get back to the office. It makes you look efficient and professional (someone they can trust), it means you don’t forget and they get the information while you are still uppermost in their mind. In other words, you are not letting your hot prospect turn cold.
3. Use your diary
Once you have sent information, make a note in your diary to follow up with a call (or whatever is appropriate). 2 or 3 days is probably about right. Don’t put it off though, because if it feels difficult to call after 3 days, how much harder will it be to call back after 3 weeks!
4. Remind them why they should choose you
In your follow up email, letter or phone call, don’t forget to remind the customer of all the things that you can do for them that they want – reiterate the benefits of using you and remind them of how you will help them solve their problem and/or achieve their objectives. Also make it personal – don’t use a standard letter – instead tailor it to them and the conversation you had with them (so you can mention that golf tournament they are going to, or the birthday celebration they were planning, or the series they were watching on TV – you get the idea). This way, you are more of a real person and less of a company ‘representative’.
5. Connect on social media
In particular, as you are in a business environment I would suggest LinkedIn. Make sure you have a well written profile and that it has recommendations from your other satisfied customers on it. This helps to continue to build your credibility in their eyes.
6. Keep in touch
After the initial follow up, the customer may still not be ready to buy from you, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. Put them on your mailing list and update them from time to time about what is going on in your organisation (new lines or products, special offers, competitions, change of staff). This is a great way to keep fresh in their minds without being pushy or annoying. So when the time is right, they will think of you and you stand a much better chance of them using you.
7. Be a bit different from your competitors
Think outside the box when you are following up. For example, if you see an article you think your customer would be interested in, send it to them. If you meet someone you think might have some synergy with them, introduce them to one another. Send them a personalised note or card (NOT the company one!) handwritten and with a proper envelope, to say ‘thank you’ or ‘happy birthday’ or whatever it is. Stand out for all the right reasons and you will become memorable.
The message here is to make sure you do follow up – with practice you will get better at it, but at least have a go – you genuinely have nothing to lose!
Janet is based in Enfield, north London and trains small businesses and entrepreneurs how to sell more.
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