May 4, 2012
If you are serious about marketing and want to increase your overall response rates, you need to consider your “Follow up”.
This simple strategy can make you £000s without you spending anything at all!
Several people have asked me about following up with customers and prospects. They wanted to know how to follow up, how many times they should follow up and what they should say when following up.
To illustrate how it can be done I’m going to let you into the secret of what I do
I've mentioned in a previous post how I had targeted a very small number of businesses by email and managed to get 96% of them to agree to meet with me. It was an excellent response rate but of course didn’t mean every one of them signed a contract with me instantly.
One business that responded met with me, seemed very keen to do business but had no budget at that time. Well, we all hear prospects complaining of lack of budget; often it is part of the negotiation process, but for me it is a welcome response. It often means they want to do business with you but want to negotiate the price. In the case of my prospective customer I knew something of the companies cash flow pattern and profitability and recognised that they really felt they couldn’t afford any marketing expenditure at that time.
So how could I keep them “warm” until they had a budget? One thing is sure, if I ignored them until they had budget a competitor might approach them before they got back to me and my hard work getting them this far would be lost. I didn’t want to make a nuisance of myself but recognise that keeping in touch is vital.
My approach was to encourage them to join my newsletter, as this would remind them about me regularly. Keeping yourself “Front of Face” is really important and is something all of us need to practice. Prospects who regularly receive and read a newsletter have the opportunity to see how you operate; your ethos, working style and expertise.
For me that is a good start but not quite enough. I aim to build relationships with people and that means helping them where I can. So every time I saw something that might really help my prospect I dropped them an email with the details. On one occasion it was advance news of some new legislation I knew would affect them, on another occasion it was details of a grant they could apply for (they phoned for more details and were successful with their application) and on the last occasion it was details of a new piece of technology they could use to save money.
Over a period of 14 months my prospect had 18-20 contacts with me and eventually contacted me to arrange a meeting to take their project forward. I’m still wasn't guaranteed a contract but the situation has now changed. My prospect was now asking me for a meeting to discuss contract content and price. Suddenly my prospect has turned into a very hot lead and I feel certain the chance of us signing a contract was very high.
The good news is that we did agree terms and that led to a second contract and we still work together.
The above is a strategy that you can employ in your business. Help people, send them useful information, refer business to them and become someone they respect. Not every one of them will become a customer; some may take years before they contract with you, others may eventually recommend you; but the important thing is that you are building up a wealth of opportunity with many potential clients.
Don’t always rely on email. Consider using the post or phone. It might be that you have a newspaper cutting they might find useful. If so put it in the post and include a handwritten note. You might see something that it is better to convey by phone; if so pick up the phone. If their PA says they are busy then leave a message; they will appreciate the fact you don’t try to bully your way past the gatekeeper; as will the gatekeeper.
The important thing is not to contact them with trivia or force a situation. Once you are known as a nuisance you have blown it for all time. Only contact them with something useful and don’t create artificial situations.. ……..if you do it will inevitably backfire.
It is particularly important that, once a prospect shows interest, you keep in contact. Clearly you do not want to be phoning every five minutes asking for a meeting or sale, as you will soon become unwelcome. However, handled sensitively, your help becomes valued and referrals or contracts are much more likely.
In my case it took eleven months to get them from the first meeting to the second. When someone is that close to buying, the few minutes a month you invest in keeping in touch with them is a small cost in getting their business.
My challenge for you today is to make a list of all your prospects and decide how you will keep them “warm”.