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:
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:
A simple “thank you for your business” when the sale is complete.
Send thank you cards to welcome new customers or sales.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There 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.
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 more 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
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:
Can you give me an example of your ideal client or customer?
Please explain your biggest challenge in your business.
Who is your best referral partner?
What makes you or your company different from your competitors?
Are you on Social Media? Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter? (make sure you connect with them)
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!
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.
Everything 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!
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 cards 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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
One 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!
Last 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 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.
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.