There is a staggeringly low % of follow up on sales leads! From trade shows to networking events more than 80% of the leads collected are not followed up on effectively. All the investment to collect the cards goes to waste if not properly followed up on.
What do you do after collecting countless business cards, purchasing several leads list, or shaking hands with a number of prospects? Follow-up.
It’s a good sign when your networking pays off and you are developing referral partners who sends leads your way. But no matter where you are in the prospect-to-client relationship process, follow-up is always important. And it can mean the difference between having a full slate of clients and almost none at all. You cannot just connect with clients once or twice and then move to the next. Effective follow-up is essential to building business relationships and insuring your success. There are a few pre-requisites that are in order and necessary for the follow-up process to run smoothly. First, thorough contact notes should be made as a point of reference for future conversation. These notes should be detailed and meticulous as possible. You also must categorize your prospect as those you deem the most beneficial. They can be listed “high value”, “mid-value” or “low value” to help aid in your categorization. Here are steps to follow to master effective follow-up:
1) Make the follow-up a priority. Call as opposed to email as soon as a contact as made. The faster you follow-up the more fresh the acquaintance and of course the longer you take to re-connect with a prospect or potential client, the greater the likelihood of losing a sale or connection.
2) Plan your approach or Pre-plan a script. You need to stay consistent with each contact and mention a point of reference or remind them of your initial or last contact. Mention the nature of your call and your intentions and remember that a tone of professionalism is being established.
3) A well-written follow-up letter should accompany the call. Again, something referencing your conversation. A letter that addresses the next steps and specifics that must be met before each step.
4) Design a follow-up plan that utilizes record management, that implements alerts and that chronicles notes from call-to-call.
5) Ask open-ended questions. This is essential part of the sales process. Questions that leaves the prospect with time to talk while you listen. This is a time to qualify and learn the process to access if going-forward is necessary. If you are unsure of how to categorize a process, the open-ended questions at follow-up should be your qualifier. Avoid the “yes” or “no” questions.
Marketing experts agree that following up with clients is crucial to successful selling and it is because most prospects do not buy the first time. People must encounter a marketing message multiple times before making a purchasing decision. The frequency and amount of follow-up needed depends on the complexity of what is being sold to the customer and its “life span.” “You should check in probably once a quarter or once a month if the product or service is more complicated. Don’t take an all-or-nothing approach to following up. Doing something is better than nothing, so follow-up as frequently and as best as you can.