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As a business owner, I love being my company’s “evangelist.” I get huge kicks from educating and exciting people about becoming a customer. But frankly, there’s an even more important—though arguably less exhilarating—aspect to closing new business. We call it, the art of follow up.
My feelings about this were confirmed and further fueled at a recent networking event in Phoenix where Clate Mask, CEO of Infusionsoft, presented his thoughts on the way to make following up work for you.
Because entrepreneurs like me are among the most passionate people on earth, and we love pitching to prospective customers, we often forget the importance of following up with prospects and even current customers to get more cha-ching! into our cash registers. Add to this the especially difficult market environment, which has would-be customers more reluctant than ever to pull money out of their wallets, and practicing the art of follow up becomes even more important.
The key precept of following up effectively with customers to win more business is understanding that people don’t buy when you’re ready. They buy when they’re ready. So it’s imperative to be “in front of them,” ready to do business, at exactly that moment.
Here are some recommended ways to master the art of follow up:
Build Trust. Do special and thoughtful things after coming in contact with a possible customer. As simple as it sounds, mailing a hand-written note goes a long way these days. Also be sure to be prompt. If you set an expectation, always meet or exceed it. Promptness is a simple way to build confidence and trust.
Use a Variety of Mediums. To each his own, as the saying goes. This holds true in the world of business, particularly how and where people prefer to receive their marketing messages. Is email marketing viable? Perhaps. Others may respond better to direct mail postcards, though. Yet others may be Talk Radio faithfuls. And there’s always the option of just placing a call or meeting up in person.
Be a Thought-Leader. Instead of constantly trying to sell, figure out how to position yourself as a provider of very interesting, valuable information related—or unrelated—to what you offer. This will give you lots of excuses to stay top of mind and be poised to make a sale when the potential purchaser decides they’re ready. This also builds trust, as previously mentioned.
Automate It. Because we’re all busy and often gravitate to the more shoot-from-the-hip evangelism role, you might consider leveraging new technology to automate your follow-up process. Companies like Infusionsoft come to mind. They offer a simple software-based approach that makes the art of follow up into somewhat of a science. The data we’ve looked at from Infustionsoft and other such solutions is very compelling.
Check out this resource from one of our sponsors, Infusionsoft: 9 Secrets to Accelerating Your Success