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 Stronger Relationships with Follow Up

Follow up is crucial in creating relationships with your clients and prospects.  The number one reason business owners and sales people give me when I ask them why they don’t follow up is “I don’t have time”.  When I hear this I think to myself you can’t afford not to have time!  I also think the excuse of “I don’t have time” is really the business owner or sales professional self sabotaging their own success.  I have discussed many systems and follow up tools to help you automate the follow up process which makes the excuse of not having time seem crazy.

Think about this…  If you are a business owner or sales professional how many new clients did you receive last year?  Is it 10, 50, or 100 new clients? Now approximate the total sales or commissions you received from each client and divide this by the total number of new clients from last year.  What is the number or average value of each client?  Is it $200, $2,000, $20,000, or $200,000 in sales or commissions?

It does not matter what the number is.  What is important is that you understand what the value of one client or prospect is to you.  For example let’s say the value of one client is $2,000.  The next time you think to yourself I don’t have the time to follow up realize this thought can be a potential loss of $2,000!  If you retain your average client for 5 years this would be $10,000!

The number one reason you will lose a customer is not from price or a competitor knocking on their door every week.  The number one reason is the feeling of indifference.  Clients start looking elsewhere when they feel unappreciated.  This can easily be solved by having a simple follow up system in place.  Imagine if you implemented a system that could not only insure your clients felt appreciated but would also increase the lifetime value of each customer.  Increasing the life of your customers by just one year or more could make a huge difference in your business.

I encourage you to leave a comment and let me know what your follow up system is.  Are you following up with email, newsletters, post cards, greeting cards, phone calls?  What are you doing to keep strong relationships with your customers and clients?  If you need help creating a follow up system or just would like me to evaluate your follow up system please contact me.

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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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Networking Basics: I don’t Wear a Name Badge! Everyone Knows Me!

I definitely have to admit I have fallen into this trap many times!  It does happen, you go to a Chamber Mixer or a Rotary meeting every week and feel like you know everyone and everyone knows you…  While this may or may not be true you still must where a name badge!

The bottom line is while everyone may know or recognize you, it is very possible they do not remember your name.  For this reason alone people may avoid you rather than face the embarrassment of not knowing your name.  Of course most groups have a flow of visitors consistently attending to check out the group.  As a member of any group you want these visitors to feel welcomed!  Name badges make it easy for visitors to interact with members.  Name badges help create a great experience for the visitor.  A visitor who has a great experience visiting a new group is more likely to join when you follow up with them!

My last thoughts on name badges are where to put them.  I mean does it really matter where you place your name badge or is it good enough just to have one?  While thinking about this I am remembering all the people I have met with name badges placed on a shirt which is great except they were wearing a jacket which completely covered the badge.  I have no great study which proves one area is better than another.  I do know when I go to shake a hand of a friend or someone I have just met I reach out with my right hand.  Because of this I always wear my name badge on the right side of my shirt so when I reach out to the other person they can clearly see my name badge. This allows the person to easily use my name in conversation and actually makes them more comfortable around me.

If you really want to meet more people consider wearing your name badge everywhere you go!  Realtors and Mortgage brokers seem to do this a lot.  What about you?  Can you be the guy who wears a name tag everywhere?

I know this is pretty simple information and to some of you maybe too obvious.  The bottom line is wearing a name badge to every event is great business networking habit which we all must have to insure our business networking success!

Networking Basics: Be on Time to Your Business Networking Group

Being on time is a very simple thing to do and yet it is very simple not to do.  Over the years I have been in many different types of networking groups for a variety of companies and projects.  There is something about the message being sent out by the members that are consistently arriving late or leaving early.  Business networking is very similar to dating in that first impressions make big difference.  If you are consistently late at a networking event it leads people to believe you may be late to all of your meetings.

Does being late really make a difference in your business networking success?  I know for me when I see this in a networking group like BNI, LeTip, or a weekly chamber of commerce group I am less likely to give the habitual late person a referral.  The reason is each referral is really an extension of me and my reputation.  If I refer my best client or referral source to a member who in turn is late meeting with my contact this reflects negatively on me.  My personal network is far more important to me than just giving someone a referral!

If you are habitually late and want to know simple ways to change your pattern read this great article, 5 ways to stop being late by Penelope Trunk.

So the next time you are getting ready for your business networking event or BNI meeting, maybe you should skip responding to that email which just showed up in your inbox and instead arrive 10 minutes early to your meeting (on time).

Of Course I have a Referral and Follow Up System!

A referral and follow up system…  You may be asking yourself what do I need that for?  I was reminded about a pretty well know fact after reading yesterdays post on Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch titled My Most Excellently Flawed Referral Survey.  The survey questions had to do with the percentage of your business coming from referrals or word of mouth.  Here is what John found:

69.3% felt over 50% of their business came by way of referral and yet, 79% further admitted they had no well-defined system to promote referral generation.  The conclusion is we know how important referrals are yet we don’t take the time to create a system to attract them!

John also asked if you are not getting a consistent flow of referrals why not?  20% of the participants of the survey just skipped this question!  Maybe after realizing so much business comes from referrals and acknowledging they have no system that thinking about why was just too much must for those in the survey to handle?

For years I have heard and seen similar numbers like this.  Business owners and top sales professionals say things like the live for referrals yet if I ask the simple question of what do you do when you receive a referral I more often than not get a blank stare.

Receiving more referrals is pretty simple and there are many ways to do this.

  • Simply asking your customers for referrals or people they know who can also use your product or service is a great place to start.
  • Making sure you acknowledge and reward the referral senders will naturally grow the amount of referrals you receive.  People will enjoy helping you and when you acknowledge and appreciate them and will in turn help you more.
  • Staying top of mind with your customers, prospects, and referral sources will generate more business and referrals for you.  You can do this by calling, emailing, sending greeting cards, and newsletters.  Staying top of mind is customers and prospects is about creating a relationship.

The best referral and follow up system I have seen and used for years is SendOutCards.  When used correctly you can create an explosion of referrals with very little effort.  The reason for this is SendOutCards is a great system and once set up can go on autopilot.  You can learn more about SendOutCards and how it might work for you by visiting this site.  Fill out the contact information and I will call and talk to you about it personally.

Whether you use index cards, Excel, Outlook, SendOutCards, Act!, Goldmine, Saleceforce.com, or any of the many other CRM tools on the market the important thing is you use one.  Commit to a system, spend the time to get it set up to work for your business, and then use it no matter what!  The benefits of using your referral and follow up system will outweigh any time or pain you might feel getting it started!

So tell me, what system do you have?  What are you doing to increase your referrals and follow up with your clients and prospects?

Create a Strong WHY to Achieve Your Goals

I last talked about how creating a strong WHY is an important step in your follow up and sales success.  The why is a fantastic motivator to push you to make one more call, mail one more thank you card, or follow up with one more prospect.

Last week the importance of a powerful why kept coming up as I had many discussions regarding this concept with colleagues, clients, and prospects.  Over and over again this was part of my conversation in my meetings, from private conversations, conference calls, and even when I was conducting a training for a group of entrepreneurs.  Today I decided to share a small part of my why which is what really keeps me going at a pace that seems to baffle some of my closest friends.

My main WHY, goal, purpose of my life, reason why I do what I do be stated in one sentence, one I Am statement, one vision:

I am positively effecting the lives of millions of people through humanitarian projects I personally create, fund, or participate in.

This is the main reason why I do what I do, the reason I make a few extra calls when I want to stop working for the day, the reason why I keep going, pushing, and working towards all the other goals I have.  My why makes all the day to day things seem small, it makes any negatives neutral, it makes disappointments last moments instead of days, weeks, or months.  It is what keeps me on my path.

As I am writing I am thinking about how my why is already becoming a reality.  It has been happening for years and it seems every year I am getting closer and closer to achieving my why.  From building homes in Mexico, supporting micro banking and water projects through Rotary and Kiva, or working on my newest cause the Global Hug Tour, MY WHY is happening!  This year alone being a part of the Global Hug Tour team will allow me to touch the lives of over 100,000 people in a positive way.  The local projects funded by the Global Hug Tour can easily impact 10, 20, or 50 thousand additional lives.

I hope you understand why I decided to share this with you today.  My hope is by sharing my why you will think about yours and by really identifying yours you will have all the success you desire!

Please take a moment and tell us about your why or how this post has inspired you to take action in creating a powerful why by leaving a comment.

To learn more about the Global Hug Tour please take a look at the website and if you are on Facebook please support the tour by becoming a fan!

John Assaraf on the Power of Why

This week I had the great opportunity to meet will John Assaraf to discuss the Global Hug Tour, a great new cause inspired by Gail Goodwin from Inspire Me Today.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss how John and his company One Coach might play a role in the tour.

During our meeting we had a conversation about the why behind the Global Hug Tour.  John was very passionate about having a strong why.  If your why is strong enough then the how will become clear.  The Global Hug Tour is a huge project with many moving parts which seem to be growing bigger with each day.  The important part of this project is everything is coming together.  Because the why is so strong it allows the how to truly present itself in the form of people stepping up to play a role, people buying hugs to support the tour, and both private and corporate sponsors taking a big interest in supporting the tour.

Bringing this back to follow up…  How does having a great why help you in follow up?  Follow up is one of those things we all know we should do!  Having a great why will help you take the action steps like following up to achieve your desired goal.  Your goal might be additional sales, revenue, customers, or referrals, whatever your goal is make sure you have a powerful why to keep you on track!

For anyone who may not know, John Assaraf is the founder of One Coach, was in the wildly successful movie The Secret and his current book The Answer: Grow Any Business, Achieve Financial Freedom, and Live an Extraordinary Life is a New York Times Best Seller.

Zappos Pays Employees to Quit!

There was a great article in the current Inc. Magazine titled The Ultimate Business Tune-Up For Times Like These.

The article listed 23 things you can do right now to energize your employees, wow your customers, and get your business back on track.  One of the ideas from a previous Inc. Start-Up Blog post was from a great company Zappos titled Pay employees to Quit!

During the first month of training, Zappos offers new employees $2,000 to quit, plus their time worked!  This may sound crazy but to Zappos it’s a matter of costs…  The cost of training an employee who is not happy or does not fit the company culture is far more than $2,000!  Zappos wants people who are passionate about customer service and who love their company culture.

I know for me I am always attracted to companies who seem to have a passion for what they are doing.  If I receive a follow up call from a new contact or someone who wants me to purchase their product I listen for the passion.  How many times have you purchased from someone just because you felt inspired to support them?  Have you ever been price shopping for a product and found a sales person or company who was so passionate that you decided to stop looking and just purchase?  Do you see how valuable passion could be for you?

So if passion is so important to a company like Zappos it might be something you should consider as well.  Whether you are an employee or the owner of a business or an entrepreneur passion is one of your best assets.   Why not take a look at how you are doing in regards to passion.  You might just find an opportunity to light the fire of passion within you!