Posted: August 16, 2011
Following up isn’t optional
Stop making excuses and just do it!By Liz Wendling
What's your excuse for not following up? These days everyone seems to have one. Some of the tired and overused excuses are; too busy, not enough time, didn't get around to it, or I forgot. It doesn't really matter what your excuse is because there's no excuse for not following up. You're losing money every day when you engage in this costly business behavior.
Following up is a critical part of the sales process but sadly it's become the most neglected. There are many reasons why sales are lost, but one of the biggest reasons is poor or no follow-up. How many sales are you losing by neglecting to follow up? Sales follow-up is a critical part of relationship selling and omitting this step creates a fatal flaw in the process. Plus, it's part of your job!
Actions speak louder than words; people need to stop talking about following up and actually start doing it. Failure to follow up happens in every industry, every day, and it affects all of us personally and professionally. With this type of negligence, it's not surprising that so many business owners and salespeople are struggling.
I've often wondered why someone would bother to start a business, deliver a sales presentation or meet with a new customer and then not take the time to stay connected and get back to potential customers. How in the world can you not find the time to follow up and complete the business you've started? If you willingly let your customers fall through the cracks due to a lack of organization, failure to follow-through or poor communication, you jeopardize the sale, your professional reputation and the potential for referrals.
Think about how many times that you, as a customer, have walked away from a business because of poor follow-up. How many times were you willing to pay more for a product because of better service? Poor communication or lack of responsiveness is a leading reason customers leave businesses for a competitor. It's the easiest fix for most businesses and an instant way to generate more sales.
There's a big disconnect between what people are saying and what they are doing. Think about how much time, money and energy you've put into developing sales strategies, networking and advertising. Dropping the ball at the follow-up stage sends a message to customers that they can't count on you. This isn't only unprofessional sales behavior, it's bad business. Is that the first impression you want to leave with your potential customers - that you talk the talk but can't walk the walk?
It's a critical, costly mistake and there is absolutely no good reason to neglect this aspect of business. Excuses don't work for serious business owners and salespeople. There's just no excuse for dropping the ball on potential business. Not one.
Following up is in your control, it's your choice and it's an easy way to differentiate yourself from other salespeople. It's a unique way show your commitment to your customers. Plus, it's your job.
A good follow-up system will generate sales and keep your business in business. It's an investment you can't afford to pass up if you want to stay ahead of your competition. Customers respect business owners and salespeople who are efficient, organized and dedicated enough to follow up and follow through in a professional manner. When you follow up, you win customers.
Since few salespeople follow up properly with customers, you will truly stand out when you do. Great salespeople write things down, they have a daily to-do system, they return calls, they keep their promises and they do what they say they'll do.
In the sales world there are those who think about it and talk about it, and then there are those who just do it. This bad business behavior must stop! How much is not following up costing you? Put a dollar amount on that and you'll be shocked. Follow up and follow through. Remember, it's your job!
Liz Wendling is "The Sales Coach for Women" and the author of "The Unstoppable Business Woman." Liz empowers women business owners (and smart men) to create immediate sales results, achieve lasting business success and permanently raise their bottom line. From the novice to the seasoned sales professional and business owner, Liz provides coaching around communicating more effectively and selling more efficiently. Go to: www.salescoachforwomen.com or email Liz@salescoachforwomen.com
Download 2 FREE chapters of her latest book at www.theunstoppablebusinesswoman.com