March 30, 2010

Follow Up or Leave Money on the Table

BY John Paul Narowski IN Sales and Marketing 0 Comment

Pretend you’re in a room that has a table full of boxes of money. Now imagine the owner of the money tells you to help yourself. “Take it all if you want.”

What would you do?

If you’re like me, you’d check inside and under every single box to make sure you walked out of that room with every penny of that money. Many business owners would do the same thing and hunt down every penny in all the boxes. But when it comes to making a sale, these same business owners are leaving money on the table. How could they walk away from all this revenue?

By not conducting a follow up.

Appropriate Situations for Follow Up

There are many situations in which a follow-up might be the difference between putting more money in your pocket and leaving it on the table. First I’ll discuss the importance of a follow-up and then I’ll point out several ways to conduct a follow up contact.

Networking Events

Whether you’re networking with colleagues or prospective customers, following-up can get more sales flowing in your direction. A follow up with a prospective customer makes them feel like you truly enjoyed meeting them. If you’re trying to make a sale, you definitely enjoyed meeting them. If they feel appreciated, they’ll be more likely to work with you.

Follow up with a colleague may ensure that you are the recipient of their overload work. If they specialize in a slightly different niche than you do, they may filter work to you which doesn’t quite fit their expertise.

Either way, following up with these people gets your name or your business in front of them one more time. Remembering names is difficult for anyone. Any help you can give the people with whom you network will help them remember your name.

Following Up on a Sales Pitch

Anybody who’s been in business a while knows the importance of following up on a sales pitch. The follow up is the point at which many customers are lost. Granted, you don’t want to become a nuisance to a prospect, but most prospects need to be contacted several times before they finally pull the trigger and hire you.

Following Up on a Sale

Another often overlooked follow-up situation is a post-sale follow-up. Following up after a sale shows the customer that you are interested in more than just getting their money into your pocket. It shows that you really care about what your product or service does for them. This goes a long way toward getting their return business.

A post sale follow-up is also a fine time to up-sell or cross-sell. It is important that you make sure the customer knows increasing sales is not the purpose of the follow-up. The purpose is the continuing relationship with them and keeping everyone on the same page.

Key to Effective Follow Up

There are a variety of means by which you can contact your prospect. It’s wisest to use a mix of all of them.

  • Telephone
  • Email
  • Social Media (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)
  • Snail Mail (yes it’s still alive and will evoke an authenticity email cannot)

The real key is not in how you contact them, but in what you say when you make the contact. Most important: Avoid yawner copy like…

“Mel. It was a pleasure to meet you at the conference today. I look forward to possibly working together. Feel free to call any time.”

Remember, you’re trying to build a relationship here. Don’t feed them the same email text you give everybody else. Get real with them. Bring up some of the things you discussed at the conference so they know you were listening to them. Do that and you’ll catch their attention because, frankly, most of the follow-up they see is canned.

Take the Cash

Effective follow-up results in more business, and more business means more money in your pocket. Follow-up or leave cash on the table.

I’ve been hacking at various business ideas since I was 16. I’m a full stack developer and love crafting user experiences. I’ve been nose deep in code since I put the legos down, and built several successful businesses in the process. I’ve lost some hair, gained some experience and throughly enjoyed the journey.

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