The words “customer follow-up” can strike fear into the hearts of even the most diligent sales professionals. Each and every one of us has dreaded picking up the phone to make a call to a prospective customer. If you’re feeling totally out of your comfort zone, don’t worry! You are certainly not alone! Rest assured that this process is NOT a difficult one! With a little organization and purpose, your follow-ups will be both easy and enjoyable.
The key to successful customer follow-ups is organization. Find or develop a system that works for you and then (most importantly) stick with it. Research shows that most (81%!) sales are made after the fifth “touch,” or point of contact. Think about that for a moment. How many times have you neglected to follow up with a customer or hostess that showed interest in your product or business? Or maybe you were on top of things and did follow up but they didn’t return your call or email and you gave up? What if you had kept trying? There are a lot of reasons that people don’t return calls and messages. It’s not always because they don’t want to talk to us – sometimes life just gets in the way.
Likewise, not every “no” means, “No, not ever.” Sometimes they just mean, “No, not right now.” With a solid follow-up strategy you can continue to track and grow that customer relationship, build trust, and develop long-term clients for your business.
As you develop your customer follow-up strategy, be sure to utilize your social media channels whenever possible. People are sharing more about themselves than ever before – use that information to your advantage. Reach out to clients if you see opportunities in your newsfeed. Perhaps a birthday or anniversary is approaching. This is a great opportunity to exchange a few words in a way that doesn’t seem forced or contrived. Remember – not every contact has to be sales related!
Be prompt in your customer follow-ups. The first attempt should be made within 24 hours of the point of contact. Schedule a reminder on your mobile device if you’re prone to forgetfulness and then pick up the phone and make the call. You’ll be glad you did in the long run – I promise! Be sure to center the conversation around them, not you (nor your goals or monthly sales requirements, etc.).
Consider creating a spreadsheet in Excel or Google Docs to track your contacts. Use columns for such things as the date, where you met, their name and address, their preferred contact method, whether they are interested in purchasing or hosting, who they were referred by and which items are on their wish list. Then also add a column for each of the five touches that will get you to that 81% I mentioned earlier. You could simply call these Follow-Up 1, Follow-Up 2, etc. Keep three lists – one for potential leads (people in your target market who are possible future customers or hostesses), one for prospects (people who have responded to your efforts but have not yet purchased) and finally for customers (people who have shopped with you at least once).
Once you are organized and have a strategy in place, you will find it is easier to make those customer follow-up calls – you may even look forward to them! Organization is a powerful thing… let it work for you!