5 GOOD REASONS TO PRACTICE ‘THE FOLLOW-UP’ / ‘FOLLOW-THROUGH’ / ‘FOLLOW-ON’
Whatever you call it, this is one of the most important activities in sales and marketing, in fact, in business as a whole.
Whenever I gain a new customer, among the many things I ask them is how and why they chose me.
This is a common-sense approach that can often elicit huge insight. From the responses I have received, the main reason I was chosen was that I had actually ‘followed-up’ my proposal or quotation. Strange as it may seem, there are many businesses that simply don’t bother. In fact, too often I hear of companies that do not even respond to a request for a quotation! This is very un-professional to say the least, and wastes good business opportunities.
Take my recent contract to train a sales team in France. They had approached four companies; two French and two English. They did not say how many had responded with a proposal, but apparently, I was the only one to follow-up my quotation! Needless to say, during the subsequent conversations I was able to match my product to their need and I won the contract.
So, why follow-up and how can it help to make the sale?
1/ Helps to build the personal relationship
2/ Is an opportunity to learn more about the prospect and build this into your approach
3/ Gives you the chance to make further adjustments to your quotation, making it even closer to their need, and to differentiate yourself from the competition
4/ Provides another opportunity to try and arrange to meet up, as the face-to-face approach generally is far more successful than trying to win business by ‘phone
5/ Is a chance to open negotiation, aiming to close the deal and win the business
It is wise to try and monitor and manage these follow-ups to ensure that no opportunities are missed. I use a simple spreadsheet I call my ‘Opportunity Log’. It lists contacts that I believe should be nurtured and followed up as I have identified potential for:
- New business
- Support for, or supply to my business
How soon should you follow-up? I would normally say within 2 to 3 days of the initial contact. If in doubt, ask or suggest. ‘Can I get back to you about this on.../in a couple of days?’ They are then duty bound to read it, as, when you call or visit, you are likely to be asking questions!
If you’ve left them something to think about, don’t waste the opportunity, follow-up and make sure you win the business.