A good follow-up is critical to building strong relationships with your prospective clients. Unless you are offering them an immediate fix to an issue they have right now, a prospective client will not normally buy from you on your first contact. It takes time. In most cases, buying is an emotional process, so it will take time for the trust to be built between you and your client. And as a wise mentor once told me: “Trust is a must in any business relationship.”
The way I learnt to build these trusting relationships was to be very clear in my follow-up with prospects clients. I began to understand that a no today might in fact mean a maybe tomorrow; or a “Not right now, call me again in six months’ time”, could be a “Yes, I am ready to work with you”.
Being committed to following up your prospects can be the difference between an ordinary business and an extraordinary one. When I hear clients say that they don’t have the time to carry out a follow-up, my response is that you can’t afford not to have the time. It’s an important aspect to any successful business.
Let’s look at this: A prospective client calls you to find out more about what you can do to solve some of their current challenges. They may have been referred to you or found you via your website. You may have even cold called a potential prospect, in the hope of doing business with them. This is the first contact you have with the person and although they think what you have to offer is great, and you followed your sales plan close 100 percent, they decide not to pursue your service.
What you do now is important! You can either file it away in the ‘too hard’ basket, like a large majority of people do, or you can put it straight into your follow-up system. Remember to develop a system that puts the focus on building a trusting relationship with this prospect.
Now what does this system look like? Firstly, whatever you use as your follow-up system, make sure it is easy for you to use. If it’s easy, you will be more likely to stick with it. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
Here are some tips I use in this process that I know will help you in your follow-up and succeed with today’s ‘maybe’.
If you don’t have a Customer Relationship Management System (CRM), put together a spreadsheet to track all of your warm prospects. On this spreadsheet, have the following headings as a minimum: name, contact details, business, referral source and status update. Keep a note of what you both spoke about; include not only the business you were discussing but anything they may have told you about themselves personally as well. By gathering this useful information now, it will in future allow you to tailor your follow-up specifically for this individual. Remember to keep this list up-to-date!