If you are “in sales” and you have an expectation of immediate gratification follow initial contact with a lead, I recommend you find a different career.
But then . . . Here’s the crux of the problem . . . It’s arguable that ALL of us are “in sales”
We are “selling ourselves” – who we are – what we do – when – how – to those we serve.
So – Sales person – How DARE you expect your prospect to follow up with you?
This egomaniacal approach is a recipe for Skinny kids.
Your job is simple and to the point.
Meet as many of the right people you can each and every day. “Right people” are ALL of the humans who want or need this service or product you’re peddling . . . AND/OR . . . well connected humans who might know other people (Family, friends, work associates, and acquaintances) who want or need this service or product you’re peddling.
Get THEIR contact information (biz card) instead of giving them yours. They don’t yet know you well enough to remember meeting you for very long . . . likely less than an hour.
ERASE from your vocabulary the banal (lame) invitation to “Call me!” or “Let’s get together sometime” . . . Following up is YOUR job, not theirs.
If you really are serious about succeeding, you’re going to need learn and adhere to some sort of “System” to follow up with this growing number of “Leads/Prospects” so as not to have any fall through the cracks and/or defect to work with your competitor.
Build a Database (A nod to Gary Keller). This database could be on a yellow college ruled pad – a spreadsheet – Phone or computer contacts . . . maybe one of the myriad CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) platforms. Get EVERYONE you know in this database and FEED IT EVERY DAY with all of these new people you are meeting.
Communicate with ALL these people in a systematic way. For those who are really paying attention, this step is the “FOLLOW UP” mechanism . . . and this is YOUR primary job because, without a steady flow of new customers/clients, you (and your kids) will go hungry.
Your goal is to build relationships that lead to business (New – Repeat – Referral). To do this, I recommend a minimum of 3 “touches” each and every month . . . FOREVER!
- Telephone call at least every other month
- Monthly Direct Mail Letter, Card, or newsletter
- Blog or email weekly
- Handwritten Note cards on Holidays and special occasions (Birthdays)
- Host events a few times each year – Invite your whole Database
- Volunteer in Schools or community organizations
When you do all of the above, the heavy lifting is complete . . . All that’s left to do is that one thing you LOVE to do . . . Serve them impeccably.
NOWHERE in this blog post did I mention ANY obligation of the prospect or clients to “follow up”.
You cannot lose business you never had.
None of this works until these prospects get to know, like, and trust you, and it’s 100% YOUR responsibility to earn this business.
PS – I was coaching a sales person this morning who mentioned that “Business would be better for me if my prospects would follow up with me!” Obviously, that lit a fire inside me . . . “YOU are the professional with ALL of the responsibility to follow up. We drive the process (including appropriate follow-up and counsel) and the client makes the decisions and funds the transaction”