The Big Marketing Mistake Business Owners Make and How to Avoid it

Have you ever had this happen to you? Several years ago, I attended a business networking function and I just happened to strike up a conversation with a person who sold cars for a local Chevrolet dealership.

And as luck would have it, I was in the market for a new car and was especially looking for a Chevrolet Trailblazer.    I really liked the person that I was speaking with and told them that I was in the market for a Chevy and asked if they would contact me.  We exchanged business cards and I looked forward to their call.

A few days passed and I still had not heard from the salesperson.  I was very anxious because I really wanted to buy a Chevy Trailblazer.   So I gave them a call, leaving a voice message on their cell phone and on their office phone.  And then I waited for a return call.  And a few days, I still had not heard from the salesperson and so I gave up.

I decided that if they did not want my business, I would take my business elsewhere, ending up buying my Trailblazer through the car buying service located at my credit union.

I’ve had this happen to me several times, and in each case, the sales person, or business owner has lost thousands of dollars in sales from me all because they did not follow up!

I think many business owners confuse the term “marketing” with the term “selling.”   Marketing is simply the process or strategies that you use to get the word out about your business and gather leads.  Selling is the process of turning those leads into paying customers.

The biggest problem that I see in marketing your business is that you can be the best marketing in the world, but if you don’t convert the leads to clients you have nothing.  And the most important step in converting leads to clients is simply following up with them.

There are many ways to follow up with leads or prospects, here are just three.

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.”  Don’t aim to sell them your product over the phone.  Aim to set an appointment and to build a relationship.  Find out about what they want before you start selling them.

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 one.

3.  Snail 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, within 24 hours is best.

The lack of following up is the biggest mistake small business owners make and it costs them thousands, if not millions.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Follow up with people right away.  I guarantee your sales will soar!

Note:  This is an excerpt from my upcoming book “How to Build Buzz for Your Biz:  Tap into the Power of Social Media, Publicity, and Relationship Marketing to Grow Your Business.”

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