Think about how many faces you see and how many people you interact with in a typical day. It would be impossible to remember each one…unless, of course, that person followed up with you by phone call, email, or handwritten card and reminded you how you met as well as what you discussed. You would definitely remember that person then. Improving your follow-up can have a tremendous effect on your bottom line. Read below for some practical tips to making follow-ups a priority in your business.
- Don’t underestimate the power of a handwritten note. We live in a world where technology is everywhere, almost all of our communication is completed via electronic means. Because of this, people really appreciate the thoughtfulness and time it takes to write a note by hand. Writing a thank you card or other kind of follow-up note doesn’t have to take an extremely long time; many services are available on the internet, such as SendOutCards.com. Just tweak them to fit your situation. Another advantage of the handwritten note: people tend to keep them longer and then act on them immediately when going through paperwork or paying bills.
- Do make follow-up calls within 24 hours. This is the optimal window in which to make a call, especially one in which you are following up with a lead. You want to make contact while the original meeting is still fresh in your prospect’s mind. Furthermore, follow-up calls accomplish two important things: offering good customer service, and providing a call to action. When a prospect receives a call, it begins building that essential relationship upon which a good business is built. The follow-up call also gives the prospect information about what to do next. Sharing your business is great, but sharing alone will get you nowhere. Following up promptly with a phone call is a crucial part of increasing your sales.
- Be persistent. Sometimes it takes more than one follow-up gesture to continue the relationship. Did you send a card a month ago and haven’t heard anything? Consider sending a quick email or Facebook message to check in or ask a question. Did your prospect say she’d call and never did? It’s okay to make that call yourself. Without being a nuisance, be persistent and consistent with your follow-up methods. Showing your customers that you are committed to building a mutually beneficial relationship can be as simple as reaching out to them on a regular basis.
- Build it into your regular schedule. Following up with prospects and customers can be a daunting task, not to mention ineffective, if it’s only something you do once in a while. Put it into your regular work schedule, such as daily or weekly. Once you commit to following up regularly, it will become habitual, and you can begin reaping the benefits of building better business relationships.
- Connect socially. Try to connect beyond doing business. Many of your clients are your neighbors. You may have similar interests or have mutual friends. A lot of times in business it’s who you know that gets the sale. Reaching out and developing friendships is the ultimate way to follow up better.
Small businesses and direct sellers have the unique opportunity to interact with their contacts on a more personal level. Getting there begins with the follow-up. How do you follow up better? Please share your ideas with us in the comments section below!
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