Follow up — or fail

Want to differentiate yourself? Rise about the noise? Stand out?  Here is one easy, shockingly simple, sure fire way to do it quickly. Follow up!  Stop talking and thinking about following up. Actually start following-up.Take action and follow consistently followup. Random acts of follow-up don’t generate results.

You’ll be miles ahead of many professionals in your industry by taking action and finishing what you started. Good follow-up elevates you above your competition. It’s a powerful way show your commitment to your customers.

Most people don’t follow up very well, if at all.

When people do follow up, it’s the same old, same old tired message. It sounds like this: "Hi Mick, I just wanted to follow up and see if you have any questions from the proposal I sent?” Or, "Hi Clint, I wanted to follow up with you to see when would be a good time to get started on your program?” Or, "Hi Beyonce, I was just following up from our meeting last week.”

That type of follow-up is self-centered, it provides no value, and shows very little regard for their challenges or issues. It’s all about you. It’s all about keeping the momentum going.

Just following up, just checking in, or just touching base, does nothing! They may make you feel like you’re moving the sale forward. The truth is you have not.  If “just following up” really worked than why would you have to keep following up with someone 10 or 12 times?

For years, I have been preaching to stop using the “F” word in business. I dislike the phrase “follow-up” because it’s overused and its meaning is hollow. It’s even used in the subject lines of emails. Stop that! Actions speak louder than words. Failure to follow up happens in every industry, every day. With this type of poor or no follow-up, it’s not surprising that so many business owners and professionals are struggling.

Ask yourself this: Did I take the time to ask my prospect when we will continue the conversation? Did we define what the next step looks like?  Did I ask how we will openly communicate moving forward? You should establish the rules of the following up. You will save so much time. If you don’t establish the rules you will turn into the annoying person who is “just following up.”

If you find yourself stuck in follow-up hell, you probably weren’t dealing with a real decision maker. Decision makers make decisions.

Get creative! Be different! Stand out! Don’t use the same lazy, old-school language as your competition. Avoid using, “I was just checking in, following up, touching base, reaching out.” Start saying, “The last time we spoke. you mentioned, or in our last conversation you wanted me to, or I was calling to pick up our conversation where we left off regarding.” You can radically change the way your prospects interact and stay in touch with you.

If you have no intention to keep the ball in play and the conversation going with a prospect, don’t start.

Think about how much time, money and energy you've put into developing marketing materials, sales strategies and networking events. Dropping the ball at the follow-up stage sends a message to customers that they can’t count on you. This is unprofessional business behavior. Is that the impression you want to leave with your potential customers? You must walk the walk. Proper follow-up will assist your customer. It helps cement your relationship with your customer

Customers respect people 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.

A good follow-up system will generate sales and make your business more profitable. It's an investment you can't afford to pass up if you want to stay ahead of your competition. Make follow-up a habit. Make it automatic. It’s like giving yourself an instant raise!

Categories: Sales & Marketing