I will admit I’d like to see your face right now after reading this title.
It wasn’t intentionally “click bait” but when sitting in a client’s office and discussing his sales process, he wrote on his whiteboard:
He immediately realized his abbreviation for “Follow Up” looked like a particularly nasty insult to hurl at someone you’re pissed at – and he started erasing it.
Me, I laughed and immediately thought, “I should use that in a blog post.” (Thanks James S.)
Back to my point. We were discussing how, when, and with what he was to follow up. Building a follow-up process is critical to new business development success. That first call is important but it’s all the follow up that truly determines your success.
I joke with my salespeople that if I were to get a tattoo it would read, “The money is in the follow-up!”
Granted, that’s a big “if.” But I feel that strongly about it because I can see a tremendous jump in results when following up and following through is made a top priority with focus, intention, resources, and practice.
Here are 5 reasons to make your “FOLLOW-UP PROCESS” your top priority:
- Your competitors are trying to reach the same prospects you are. If you give up before they do. They win. Simple facts. If you outlast them, you will be there when your customer needs you.
- Buyers may not be interested in your product right now. They’re in “status quo” mode until a “trigger event” creates dissatisfaction with their current supplier or vendor. Craig Elias, author of “Shift Selling” states that decision makers are TEN TIMES more likely to switch vendors if you connect with them when they are in the “Window of Dissatisfaction.” If you’re visible and provide value consistently, who are they going to start their buying process with? Yes. YOU.
- You create opportunities to expand your contacts and relationships with your customers or prospects’ organizations. Meeting administrative support, directors, colleagues, or employees gives you more insights into how and where they are in the decision making process. Knowledge is power in this process. Calling, emailing, in-person visits, and social media exchanges that draw in more people in the organization can give you upwards of 4X the chance to convert opportunities to sales.
- You can scale your efforts if you have a smart and successful follow-up process. Most sellers go off track when they randomly follow up, make erratic attempts at picking back up with a lead, or get busy and ignore progress they’ve made because of that whole, “bird in the hand . . .” theory of priorities. Consistently building your pipeline, however, creates consistent sales success and quarterly growth. Creating a cadence to your efforts that use smart, well-thought-out messages will be much more effective than a buckshot approach. Templates and sequences can be easily customized and personalized with a few tweaks instead re-inventing the wheel each time you decide you have time to work on following up with prospects. Do the work ahead of time and you’ll be able to connect more often, move more opportunities forward, and keep closing new business.
- You prove you’re TRULY interested in partnering with your prospects. By not disappearing in the sales process, your customers preview what it’s like to work with you. You are consistent. You keep showing up with value. You will be there when they need you. You won’t disappear after the sale. HOW you sell tells your customers so much about whether they should work with you or not. Consider your sales process a “test” that your customers are giving to you. Will you flake when you get busy? Will you fold and give up when met with silence? Pass their tests and you’ll be in a much better position to earn their business.
Maybe it should be renamed a “Follow Through” process. It’s easy to see where lack of persistence and grit to finish a project creates unfulfilling and unfinished results – ultimately, wasting the time that you gave to starting that project.
That seems ridiculous, right? Starting something only to abandon it because you don’t want to follow through?
It’s no different from prospecting and new business development efforts. If you make one call, send an email, and then half-heartedly try again . . . sometime later. Your results will reflect your efforts.
Scant. Random. Hit and Miss.
Don’t waste your time on half-hearted follow up efforts. Create a process that works for you. Build your toolbox and have your resources ready to deploy. Stay organized and be consistent.
Make “FU” your new religion. Give it the utmost priority and watch your new business development results scale and multiply!
Until next time, stop hoping and start SELLING!