We spend an exorbitant amount of time and money chasing new business, new leads, new opportunities. When business dips our first response is we need new customers. New connections, new addresses, new email lists, new target markets. A new contact is a good contact. Fresh, full of potential, juicy. We know this is the highest investment we need to make to get someone to notice us. We believe a high investment should have a high yield. When done right, it does. But nothing compares to what is available directly in front of you.
Here is what seems like a largely unknown and unused tool for sales and marketing that can give you massive growth. Not only that – but it can be used with little or no training, requires virtually no investment and can start right away. It’s called FOLLOW UP.
I don’t know about you, but I have been in touch with hundreds if not thousands of businesses in my life. When I say that, I mean I gave them a way to contact me directly whether by phone, email or postal address connected with an interest or a purchase. And for the most part, I have not asked them to stop contacting me. Here’s the thing though:
I NEVER HEAR FROM THEM. EVER.
A fairly small faction will bombard me from all angles for a week or two with retargeted ads, page invites, message bots and they might get me to do something. I swear I even once read a cryptic note on the back of a bus I was driving behind and when I got home: there was a sponsored ad, on my Facebook timeline, explaining the whole thing so I had to go for it.
So far so good – but then even these companies with highly automated and targeted ads that led to me connecting with them suddenly lose interest and disappear never to be heard of again.
Then some, of course, funnel you into the toxic swamp of recycled content, promotions, irrelevant newsletters, and utter boredom forcing you at some point to unsubscribe. That’s even worse than not doing anything…
That’s it. Oh and then there are the two or three who FOLLOW UP.
WHERE DO YOU FIT IN?
And to be clear I am not talking only about big businesses with massive sales teams. I’m talking about small businesses. Single owner-operated, small teams, service-based, health, wellness, hospitality, you name it.
SO WHAT DOES FOLLOW UP EVEN MEAN?
FOLLOW UP means you make the effort to reach out far past what you currently deem as either “worth it”, “appropriate”, or “industry standard”. This is your opportunity to break away and FOLLOW UP more frequently, more consistently and more than anyone else. No easier way to get ahead of any competition. No better way to get more business. No cheaper way of running sales and marketing.
It means that right now you throw away all your beliefs about how you need to FOLLOW UP to get to your sales goal, or really whatever goal you might have. Your data is wrong. Your industry standard is wrong. Your peers are wrong.
Here is some data from large studies for your consideration:
It can take 18 or more dials to connect with a prospect over the phone and call-back rates are below 1%. *1
Research suggests only one in every 50 deals is struck at a first meeting - yet many people give up after just one or two pushbacks.*2
80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after the meeting.
More fascinating statistics:
44% of sales people give up after one "no";
22% give up after two "no's";
14% give up after three "no's";
12% give up after four "no's".
There’s also the fact that 63% of people requesting information today will not purchase for at least three months – and 20% will take more than 12 months to buy. Here’s where the mindset shift needs to happen: It takes less effort, costs less and is more productive to follow up on existing conversations than to go after new first connections.
Did you know that, amazingly, that only 20% of sales leads are ever followed up?
Let’s say a business has 100 real contacts a month and follows up on 20% which are 20 customers.
Let’s say they end up getting 20% of those as customers (conversion rates will vary wildly depending on a number of factors). That would be 4 customers. Awesome. Now they were to FOLLOW UP with the remaining 80% with the same fervor they would land 16 customers a fourfold increase in business. There is absolutely and positively nothing stopping you from connecting with each and every person your business or service has connected with now, in the past and the future. It’s like printing money.
HAPPY CLOSING, BOOKING, ENROLLING, SELLING – WHATEVER IT IS YOU DO.
Contacting your prospective and existing clients every three months or sooner builds trust and professionalism and keeps ‘top of mind’ awareness. By the way, most clients do not regard contact for orders, payments, and appointments, or the obligatory seasonal cards as meaningful communication.
Pay attention to your existing customers and FOLLOW UP. Retaining current customers is 6 to 7 times less costly than acquiring new ones.
"Hi Susan, this is Nicky calling. I just wanted to check in to see how your treatment was yesterday and remind you that we sent you a link with the playlist of music you listened to whenever you want to put yourself in a state of deep relaxation."
The fact that they are engaged with your brand gives you an advantage that you’d be mistaken not to capitalize on.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nicolay H. Kreidler is an entrepreneur and strategic consultant in the health and wellness space who focuses on turning around distressed businesses and re-positioning them for success.