Have you ever had this happen to you? You’re at a business function and you just happen to strike up a conversation with the person next to you. It turns out that that Mr. Jones sells Super Duper Widgets! And as luck would have it, you’ve been looking for a contact for Super Duper Widgets recently because yours are worn out! You’re so excited. You exchange business cards and he asks if he might call you later, to which you wholeheartedly agree.
A few days pass and you have not heard from Mr. Jones, and you’re getting anxious because you NEED some new widgets. So you give Mr. Jones a call and leave a voice message on his cell phone. And then you wait, and you wait, and you wait. And after two days, you still have not heard from Mr. Jones. So you finally give up and decide that if Mr. Jones doesn’t want to call you back, you’ll purchase your Super Duper Widgets elsewhere. And that’s what you do!
I’ve had this happen to me several times, and in each case, the business owner lost thousands of dollars in sales from me, all because they did not follow up!
Jeffrey Gitomer says in his book, Little Red Book of Selling, “People don’t like to be sold, but they LOVE to buy!” I just happen to think that I am the easiest sale that a business owner has ever had because when I KNOW that I am going to buy a widget (or a car, or an appliance), I AM going to buy a widget! All I really need is for someone to facilitate the transaction!
Our job as a business owner is to facilitate the transaction by making it as easy as possible for people to buy what they need when they need it. And one way we can do this is by a simple process called “following up.”
As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to follow up, when you meet someone, during a sale, and even after a sale. Here are three ways that you could follow up that will make it easier for a customer to buy and put thousands of dollars in YOUR pocket.
1. Phone: After you exchange information and agree to follow up, give them a call within 24 hours. Say something like, “Hey, I said I would follow up with you, and here I am! I would love to get together with you to learn more about your needs.”
2. Email: If the thought of making a phone call gives you hives, then you could also follow up by email. The benefit to that of course is that you can do it at any time, and they can answer at their convenience. If you don’t hear back from them though, go back to step 1.
3. Mail: Yes, snail mail still exists, and believe it or not people enjoy getting old fashioned cards and letters. If you’re just not sure about the person, or if you want to send them some additional information, sending a letter via regular mail is a good option. However, if the contact had indicated that they were interested in your product because they are looking to buy one in the near future, do not use snail mail. Give them a call first, RIGHT AWAY!!
The lack of following up is the biggest mistake small business owners make every day and it costs them thousands. Don’t let this happen to you. Follow up with people right away. I guarantee it will make a difference!
What has been your experience with follow up? Do you have a system? What has been your worst story? What has been your best?