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.

Using SendOutCards to Generate More Referrals


Can SendOutCards really help you and your business generate more referrals?  The answer is yes!  The act of sending out thank you cards, birthday cards, follow up cards, and general thinking of you cards to your network on a consistent daily basis is guaranteed to generate you more referrals, customers, and business.

As you can see from the video it’s all about creating stronger relationships with the people in your network.  Sending out greeting cards is a bit old fashioned but very effective.  In fact in today’s world of email, texting, and social media saying thank you or happy birthday with an actual card allows you or your business to stand out among the crowd.  The more you stand you the more business you receive!

If you truly want more business and referrals you need to consider implementing this relationship marketing tool.  Visit our follow up tools section to learn more about SendOutCards for your business.

How To Create Strategic Referral Sources and Referral Partnerships

Are referrals the life blood of your business?  Often times when I am consulting with businesses about referral marketing strategies they tell me that referrals are the top way they receive new customers.  When I follow up with follow-up-referrals-man-bull-hornmore questions about how they generate referrals I am shocked to discover many of these same businesses have no referral strategy in place.  The referrals they receive happen by chance and they have no system to encourage or increase referrals coming into their business.

If you are one of these companies that rely on new referral business you might consider creating strategic referral sources.  Strategic referral sources or referral partners are designed to create referral relationships where you and your partnering business give referrals to each other.  This may be a business in or out of your industry.  Here are a few examples:

  • Business attorneys referring Family Attorneys or Estate Planning Attorneys
  • CPA’s referring Bookkeepers
  • Dentists referring Family Photographers
  • Marketing Firms referring Social Media Firms
  • Insurance Brokers referring Financial  Planners

When meeting with possible referral sources it’s important to learn as much as you can to start the referral process.  Here are six questions you can ask your potential referral partners to insure success:

  1. Can you give me an example of your ideal client or customer?
  2. Please explain your biggest challenge in your business.
  3. Who is your best referral partner?
  4. What makes you or your company different from your competitors?
  5. Are you on Social Media?  Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter?  (make sure you connect with them)
  6. Is there anything more you would like to tell me about you or your company that might help me give you a referral?

At this point you should have everything you need to start referring this person or business.  I find the fastest way to start receiving referrals from a new referral source is to give them referrals as soon as possible.  I make it a point to seek out opportunities for them as I know the more business they receive from my network the more committed they will be to referring my business.

If you start creating referral partners as strategy you are guaranteed to grow your referral business!

Attracting New Customers and Increasing Your Referrals this Year!

Christmas, Hanukkah, and the Seasonal Parties are starting to become fond memories for most of us.  Many businesses are focused on the New Year and thinking about what to do different.  New Year Resolutions have come up in almost every conversation I have had this week with businesses owners.

moneytreeEverything from growing the business, increasing referrals, getting more involved with the community, attending more networking events, creating more systems, increasing marketing, adding more staff, and list goes on and on.  The greatest thing about all these conversations is how many businesses seem to really be thinking about what they can do different.  How they can really improve and grow their business this year.

For my businesses focus seems to be at the top of my list.  Really identifying where I need to spend my time and making sure I hold myself accountable to where my time is spent is number one for me!  I have really thought about what my highest income producing activities are for each of my businesses and where I want these businesses to go this year.  By doing this exercise I have now identified actionable items and activities which I should do each day to achieve these goals.  I am now in the process of listing these activities and creating daily, weekly, and monthly goals for each one.

Once this is complete I will have this document in front of me each day.  It will work like a check list insuring I am doing the action items and activities on a consistent basis which will lead to my desired results.

My questions for you are what are you thinking about this week?  What are you changing in your business to insure a great 2010?  Are you willing to take the steps necessary for your success?  Are you going to attend one more networking event each month this year?  Are you going to join BNI, LeTip, or you local Chamber of Commerce?  Are you going to learn more about Social Media and how to use Social Media in your business?  Are you going to follow up with every lead you receive?  Are you going to follow up with every person you meet?  Are you going to thank the customers that buy from you each month?  Are you going to create more meaningful relationships this year?

Take a moment and share with us what you are going to do to insure your success in 2010 by joining the conversation and leaving a comment!

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!

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 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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Can I Give You A Referral?

On my last post I highlighted Make A Referral Week 2009. The goal was to generate 1,000 referrals to 1,000 deserving small businesses in one week. I am happy to report the goal was met and I am excited to see Referral Week happen again with a much larger goal!

This week I had the pleasure of talking to one of my favorite people Stuart Manley from ChannelPoint, Inc., a Toronto, ON human resource company specializing in cross border HR. After talking to Stuart I thought of another friend Art Kriegsmann. Art is the CEO of H.R. SERV., Inc. based in San Diego, CA. The conversation with Stuart prompted me to refer both Stuart and Art to each other. I referred them because they both specialize in different areas and could possibly be a great referral source for one another.

The example points out one of the most overlooked referrals we can make. We all love to receive direct referrals which will lead to a new client. Sometimes our best referrals are not a direct referral but someone who can continually give us referrals over time. Creating referral partners, power partners, or fantastic referral sources should be a major part of your referral strategy.

To create a referral source think about the businesses in your network who may serve your ideal client. Possibly a company you notice working with the same clients you have. Once you identify such a company or industry reach out to them and talk about the possibility of sending referrals to one another. This strategy could make the difference of your business maintaining sales this year or possibly growing another 10, 20, or 50 percent! And for those of you who may watch the news or if you happen to still read the paper… Yes I did say you can grow your business in this economy!

If you are still reading this post I have one question for you. Can I give you a referral?

Do you have a company or client you have been trying to reach? Do you know who your ideal client or referral partner is? How can I or the readers give you a referral? Leave your referral request as a comment and let’s see if we can help each other!