Surprising Statistics Showing Why Your Customers Stop Buying

And How Follow Up Can Save Them!

Depending on the type of business or service you may not even know if or when you lose a customer. Studies show less than 4% of your customers will tell you if they are unhappy so depending on your follow up process you may never know if you have a customer on the fence.

Here are the statistics on why businesses lose customers:

1% Die

3% Move away

5% Form other relationships

9% Leave for competitive reasons

14% Due to product dissatisfaction

68% Stop buying your product or service because of an attitude or feeling of indifference towards them by one or more persons representing the company.

 

How can follow up save the 68% of the customers leaving? It’s about preventing the attitude or feeling of indifference. The following are 4 sales follow up steps to insure you don’t lose customers and avoid the 68% trap:

  1. A simple “thank you for your business” when the sale is complete.
  2. Send thank you cards to welcome new customers or sales.
  3. Create an email thanking your customer again for their business and let them know where they can go for additional service and support if needed.
  4. Determine the customer’s next need and remind them of your company or service by email, phone, or direct mail.

 

The major point of these steps is to insure your customers feel appreciated. Customers who feel appreciated will typically not fall into the 68%. And if by chance your customer had a less than satisfactory experience in their last transaction these steps will help turn the tide back in your favor.

To learn more about creating a follow up system make sure you to read Creating a Follow Up Strategy where I discuss follow up strategies for existing customers.

Shocking Sales Statistics as It Relates to Follow Up

Truly shocking sales statistics as it relates to your  follow up process:

48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect
25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
12% of sales people make more than three contacts

2% of sales are made on the first contact
3% of sales are made on the second contact
5% of sales are made on the third contact
10% of sales are made on the fourth contact
80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact

Creating and using a follow up system is a guaranteed way to grow your business.  In fact with less than 52% of all sales people following up with their prospects you will not only grow your business but you will stand out amongst your peers.  And remember 80% of sales are made in the fifth to twelfth contact if you are in a market with heavy competition you literally eliminate your competitors by simply following up.

To learn more about creating a follow up system make sure you to read Creating a Follow Up Strategy where I discuss follow up strategies for existing customers.

Follow Up Secret: Use Gratitude When Following Up

Following up with your prospects is one of the most important steps in the sales process.  If your prospect does not make a decision to buy or retain your services at your first meeting following up becomes the most important step.

thank-you-painted-streetThere are many ways to follow up with your prospects and one of my favorites is through gratitude and appreciation.  Before dialing, emailing or writing a note take a moment to think about your prospect and your last meeting.  Is there something you discussed in your last meeting that gave you an idea or helped you in some way?  Did you learn something new about how your product or service can help a future prospect or customer?  Did your prospect possibly give you a referral or a lead?  These are all great examples of how you can follow up with gratitude.

Think about the last time someone expressed gratitude or appreciation towards you.  Was it in person, on the phone, via email, or maybe you received an unexpected thank you card?  Think about how this small act of gratitude made you feel.  This is the same feeling you create with your prospects when you appreciate them.  This feeling creates a stronger relationship with your prospect.  By building on your relationship you are attracting your prospect to convert themselves to the sale or another referral.

Try out following up with gratitude after your next few presentations and let me know how it worked for you.  If you currently do this in your follow up process leave a comment and tell me how it is working for you.

Sending Holiday Cards to Your Customers is a Waste of Time!

Did I get your attention?  You only have a few days left to get this task done.  Are you are one of the many business owners or sales professionals who still have this task on your list?  You may even have a stack of holiday cards sitting on your desk ready to go.  But at some point in the past month or most likely many times you decided to put it off, wait until tomorrow, or maybe take care of writing and sending your holiday greeting cards over one of the past weekends.

And now you find yourself exactly where you don’t want to be, 15 days before the big holiday, no holiday greeting Holiday-cards-assortmentcards in the mail.  You have a decision to make…  Do you stop everything and send those holiday cards out or do you just forget about it?

The answer? STOP EVERYTHING AND GET IT DONE NOW! This may seem a bit crazy or even bias because you know I am a big SendOutCards user and often promote using SendOutCards on Follow Up Success.  Card sending is an important step in your follow up process and holiday card sending is almost at the top.

Here are my top three reasons why you should stop everything and send out your holiday greeting cards now:

  1. Appreciating your customers and prospects – Every single one of your customers enjoys being appreciated and the holidays is a great time to say thank you for the past business you have received.  Prospects can easily be turned into customers by simply saying thank you for learning more about you and your business while wishing for them a great holiday with family and friends.
  2. Reestablishing the business relationship – One of my goals for 2010 is to create stronger relationships with my customers and prospects.  By sending holiday cards I will reestablish past relationships that I may have let slip through the cracks.  This is important when you reach out to past customers or prospects in the New Year as you will have recent contact.
  3. Top of Mind Awareness – This is the big one!  Creating top of mind awareness with your customers and prospects when they are surrounded by their closest friends and family is an essential step in your follow up and referral strategy.  If you are top of mind with your customer or prospect they are more likely to bring you and your business up in conversation or think about you for a potential referral.

Hopefully I have encouraged you to take action!  Maybe, you have already picked up that box of holiday cards from your desk or floor and have starting filling them out.  Possibly, you have too many cards to send and feel hopeless!  If you are feeling hopeless SendOutCards would be the best gift to give yourself this holiday season!  With my help within a few hours you can have all of your holiday cards in the mail each personalized with your message.  To learn more about SendOutCards or to set up your account visit my Follow Up Tools page or contact me.  I am more than happy to help you through this process!

Whether you use SendOutCards, go buy cards from the store, or use the cards you already have, just get it done!  Stop everything and do this now!  I promise you it’s worth the time.

Do you have great business success stories from sending cards?  Please tell us all about it by leaving a comment!

Follow Up Tools: Creating A Simple Newsletter Opt In Form For Your Website

There should be no question in your mind that email is a powerful follow up tool for your business and should be included in your follow up strategy.  Creating a list of customers, prospects, and referral sources who have asked you to market to them with email by requesting to be on your newsletter or specials list is brilliant!  In fact why not take a moment to subscribe to my Follow Up Success Newsletter now!

With your email list you have the ability to:

  • Follow up with past customers
  • Announce new product releases
  • Educate past and current customers
  • Continue to market additional products and services
  • Share success stories with your product or service
  • Maintain top of mind awareness
  • Create additional referral opportunities

Now is the time to start creating a list for your business.  There are many options available when deciding which email service to use for your list.  I use and recommend both AWeber and iContact with my websites.  These are two great companies to use and are pretty similar.  Look into each of them and decide which one will work best for you or opt into the form below and learn more about how AWeber might work for your business:


Now You Can Multiply Profits AND Automate Your Business

AWeber’s email marketing software makes it easy.

Learn how they can do it for you, too.

Take A Free Test Drive Today!

AWeber just made it really easy to create great looking newsletter opt in forms for your website or blog!  Released just in the past few weeks you can now go to your AWeber account and create a new form using one of the many templates available.  Choose from many great categories like automotive, corporate, retail, money, real estate, and more.  Learn more about the AWeber options by visiting Shawn Collins Affiliate Marketing Blog.

Watch this video to learn how you can create a new form from your existing AWeber account:

You will need to set up your AWeber account to use the form generator but I promise it will be worth it!

Send Thanksgiving Cards to Follow Up With Your Clients!

There are many reasons to send greeting cards to your customers. General follow up thank you cards, birthday cards, customer appreciation cards, and of course holiday cards. All of these customer follow up greeting cards should be a standard marketing practice for any business.

thanksgiving-greeting-cardOne of my favorite opportunities to reach out to existing customers and create stronger relationships is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving after all is all about gratitude and what better way to show gratitude to your customers than by sending them a Thanksgiving card and letting them know how much you appreciate their business?

I truly believe in sending Thanksgiving cards to follow up with your customers and prospects. In fact I have recent memories of handwriting over 500 Thanksgiving cards to my clients not too long ago. This was a huge and exhausting task with each card containing two or three lines of personalized text. I spent well over two months completing this process! And while I was all gung-ho to send out holiday greeting cards to my clients as well… It was just not going to happen. I had all the holiday cards on my desk but could not get them completed in the two remaining weeks I had left. At the time I remember thinking there must be a better to get this done… Of course there is a better way and I discovered it about six months later. The next time I mailed Thanksgiving cards to my clients I sent 600 and did them all in about four hours instead of two months! I used an incredible system called SendOutCards and you can learn more about this process by visiting my Follow Up Tools page.

There are many reasons to send out Thanksgiving cards to your clients, prospects, and referral sources. The main one being appreciation. Everyone likes to be acknowledged and appreciated and when you do this your clients will do more business with you, prospects will start doing business with you, and your referral sources will send you even more referrals.

Now is the time! Start following up with your customers and prospects today with Thanksgiving cards!

Creating a Follow Up Strategy

alan-underkofler-house-of-bluesLast week I had the opportunity to speak at the Cool Twitter Conferences at the House of Blues in Hollywood.  My topic for my discussion was Using twitter to Attract More Clients, Increase Your Referrals, and Maintain Top of Mind Awareness With Your Customers.  It’s a big topic about using twitter one of the hottest social media sites as a follow up tool.

I started the discussion with a question…  Are you giving business to your competitors?  The answer for many businesses is YES!  Have you heard this before?  “The fortune is in the follow up” or the really overused yet clearly correct “People do business with people they Know, LIKE, and TRUST!”  These are great statements and both are true yet many businesses do not have any follow up strategy and don’t really understand how to create the “know, like, and trust” feeling with their clients and prospects.

So what is a follow up strategy?  It’s about creating a system for follow up which will be used with every new client, prospect, or referral source.  The system could look something like this:

New Customer Follow Up System:

  • Day 1  – new customer welcome email
  • Day 1  – new customer welcome card
  • Day 1 – new customer welcome tweet on twitter
  • Week 2 – follow up phone call checking to insure client is happy with purchase
  • Week 4 – follow up card “It’s been 30 days since your purchase and we want to make sure you are happy”
  • Week 4 – follow up tweet on twitter similar to the week 4 card
  • Week 8 – follow up phone call just “checking in”
  • Week 12 – follow up card Discussion additional products or services you might offer

I can keep going but you have the idea right?  The best way to increase your referrals with your customers and clients is to have a follow up strategy in place.  Of course having it in place is only the first step!  You must be committed to your strategy, you want to make sure once you start following up you keep it going!  You might want to read a previous post, Creating Great Follow UP With Your Clients in 7 Simple Steps where I went into more detail about this process.

Do you have a follow up strategy?  Please take a moment and tell us what you are doing by leaving a comment.

Two Simple Follow Up Strategies for Speakers and Presenters

Two very simple follow up ideas for Speakers and Presenters.  Yes even Speakers and Presenters need to follow up!  This week I had the wonderful opportunity to speak at the Encinitas Rotary group about using Social Media to follow up and engage customers.  I have to admit the setting for this discussion was perfect, the room was right on the water with a wall of glass facing the ocean.  The room felt like the ocean was coming right in with each incoming wave!

After the discussion I had spent some time outside listening, viewing, and enjoying the beautiful day.  When I was about to leave I decided to make this short video on follow up to share with you how I will follow up with the members of this group.  Here is the video:

Two simple steps:

  • Send an email to each person thanking them for the opportunity to speak at their meeting
  • Mail each person a thank you card

As a Speaker and Presenter why would I want to take these two follow up steps?  I can think of many great reasons but I will focus on the basics.  It’s about building upon the relationship I have started.  This group just listened to me talk for an hour.  To this group I would be considered an expert or go to person in social media, follow up, and referral strategies.  The opportunity from speaking is to continue the relationship!  If I do this effectively I will naturally receive clients, referrals, and additional speaking engagements.

Are you a speaker, presenter, or trainer?  Please let me know the methods you are using to follow up with your audience by leaving a comment.

Creating Great Follow Up With Your Clients in 7 Simple Steps

Today I was listening to a great podcast by Dr. Ivan Misner the founder of BNI on Networking Now about following up with your clients and creating touch points. Dr. Misner offered 6 steps in creating touch points with your prospects and customers. After listening to the pod cast I ended up with seven steps!

Step One – Spread out your contacts! Many people do great follow up in the first few months of making the sale and then the follow up seems to drop off. Maintaining consistent follow up or touch points through phone conversations, live appointments, email, newsletters, and greeting cards should be the goal.

Step Two – Train your clients to expect to hear from you. Be consistent! If it makes since for your business or product to meet with them once per quarter than make sure you always meet with them once per quarter. Your clients will begin to plan on hearing from you and will make time to see you.

Step Three – Make each contact lead to the next contact. Let your customer know when they will hear from you again. If you are meeting every quarter, ideally you would schedule the next quarterly meeting before leaving. If you need to follow up with additional information make sure to let them know when they can expect from you.

Step Four – Assume responsibility to make contact. As the sales person or business owner it is your responsibility to maintain the relationship. Remember customers who don’t feel appreciated or feel they are not being taken care of will naturally start looking for someone else. Keeping consistent contact and taking responsibility for the relationship will help your to maintain your customers for life!

Step Five – Invite customers to networking events. If you have found a great networking event make sure to invite a few of your customers for the next one. Invite them to your BNI group or a local chamber of commerce. If you are in Rotary or Kiwanis invite them to your next meeting. Seeing your customers every week or every month at a service organization or networking event will help you create a stronger relationship. Not to mention if you have found new clients at these groups your customers may as well.

Step Six – Create a plan and stick to it. If you are consistently following up with your customers your customers will naturally start contacting you. The key is to not break your consistency. When your clients contact your don’t restart the clock or change your pattern. Stay on your same touch point schedule and this will just encourage more interaction.

Step Seven – Once you have your plan implement a system to make this easy. For each element of your follow up or touch points do whatever you can to put this into a system. Systems mean automatic! Automatically your news letter will go out every month. Automatically your outlook calendar or salesforce.com reminder will pop up. By having a system you guarantee consistency in your actions.

It’s important to remember following up with prospects is a must but having consistent follow up or touch points with your customers is equally as important. The goal for this follow up or touch point system is not to sell. The goal is to create conversations. The conversation might be:

  • How can I help you?
  • Are you satisfied with our product or service?
  • I was thinking about your business today and thought of a few additional ideas for you.
  • How can I make this service work better for you?

Through conversations you will create stronger relationships. Through these relationships you will receive more businesses and the best part is you will receive referrals!

Are you using a system now? Please leave a comment and tell us what are you using in your business for follow up and touch points!

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A Simple Step to Start Receiving Business from LinkedIn!

When I ask a new contact if they are on LinkedIn the common response I hear is yes I am but I have no idea how to use itLinkedIn is a great Social Network for business but for many people they just don’t understand what it can do for them or have any plan in place to really engage the people they are connected to.  So today I decided to talk about how I handle new contacts on LinkedIn.

For me of course it all comes down to follow up!  Follow up is the key to really get things moving on LinkedIn!  So what do I mean my follow up?

This week I set aside some time to go through my LinkedIn invites.  In the end I accepted invitations from about 100 pending connections.  After viewing each connection request I sent a simple email to each new LinkedIn connection asking them for a 20 minute meeting with the goal of learning more about them and to explore how we might be able to help each other.

Here is the email I send out:
Hi Shane!
Thank you for connecting on LinkedIn! Let’s set up a 20 minute meeting to learn more about each other and our businesses.  The goal would be to explore how we might help each other.
How does your schedule look for next week?
Alan Underkofler

My expectation is to have about 20 people accept my offer to talk on the phone and explore how we might help each other.  Taking this one follow up step with each new LinkedIn connection allows you to start a relationship which leads to new business and referrals.

So there you have it, a very simple step to start the conversation with your LinkedIn connections.  So tell me…  What do you do to maximize your connections on LinkedIn?

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