Follow the leads
Ongoing follow-up allows you to anticipate problems, handle them before they become major obstacles, manage client expectations, build new relationships, identify new other “reinforcers” for future sales contacts.
Timely follow-up after a “sales contact” or marketing effort is obviously a critical element in any client contact or engagement, but it is one of the things that can easily fall through the cracks without proper planning, discipline, and execution.
This is an ongoing process that involves short-term and long-term actions, including notes of thanks, phone calls or meetings to manage project initiation, timely administration (paperwork), internal communications, and/or team assignments.
The timing of the initial follow-up should be immediate, and the frequency and methods will depend on the nature of the client commitment or project.
A construction related company I know of has a systematic process using a spreadsheet with a “sort by date” follow up on all leads bi-monthly until either the client chooses to unsubscribe or gives the company information that indicates a future contact can be made at a more suitable time. This company has more than 120 leads on its books and no lead slips through the cracks.
A systematic plan and system for follow-up is best, and often includes project software, MS outlook/calendar management, excel spreadsheets and so on.
Ask yourself these questions:
What needs to happen in terms of…
- People? Who do I need to contact internally and or externally to make the next step happen?
- Communications? Internally and externally. Confirmations to the client; information to my team.
- Timing? When are things and actions needed?
- Other resources? What resources are required for this outcome? The time, energy or money to make it all happen.
- Maintaining positive momentum? How do I ensure all will go to plan so that the client and my company are fully informed on progress and the client will receive what they want in full on time and to the best quality? Will future follow ups be necessary to on sell parts or services?
- What did I learn about the client/client organisation? Do I need to update client information. Who were the influencers and deceision aklers.
- What did I do well?
- What can I do better next time?
- What client records should be updated?
- What documentation needs to be created/updated (letter of agreement, proposal, etc.)?
The time you spend on your follow ups is money well invested and will build your business tremendously. Always look for better ways to do it.