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!
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.
Over the next few weeks I will be discussing networking basics to insure your success! Some of these may seem very simple or obvious and that is because they are! It’s funny but I find the simple and obvious things, the steps we know we should do, are the very things we neglect to do!
Why is this? Are we just looking for ways to sabotage our success? Do we do this consciously or unconsciously? What is it that prevents us from doing the things and steps we know will insure our possibly guarantee our success?
Recently a friend asked me, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”. Thinking about this question brings another question to my mind… How many, projects, careers, or dreams are you playing in right now? In your career are you playing at 10%, do you have a dream you are working towards, yet only putting a 20% effort into it? What would happen if you played at 100%? What would happen if you knew you could not fail? Would you play at 100%? Would you take the small steps everyday to guarantee your success?
For some reason I am reminded about a post on Seth Godin’s blog, How to be Remarkable. It’s a top 10 list on how to be remarkable to your clients and a must read. You will find being remarkable is just like having success! It’s not hard, there is no magic to it, it’s just a few simple steps done repeatedly over time!
Keep a look out this week for the Networking Basics! Each time you read one think about how you are playing in networking, think about how you might improve or add one of these basic steps to have the success you are looking for! If one of these basic steps comes to mind now, take a moment and leave a comment so I can add it as one of the steps for everyone!
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?
This morning I had a completely different post in mind. I was going to write about sending books to your top clients and referral sources for the New Year. In thinking about follow up this morning I decided to write about a simple and highly effective follow up strategy for the two days before Christmas.
Take a look at your top 25 clients and referral sources for the year, print out a report or simply write them down. Once you have them pick up the phone and call each one. Call them and wish them a Merry Christmas. If you are not sure if they celebrate Christmas wish them a Happy Holliday weekend. Thank these clients and referral sources for the business and referrals from the past year. Ask them what they are doing for the holiday. In general you want to touch them right before the holiday. Don’t ask for new business or referrals, just thank them and wish them a great holiday.
You may not be able to reach everyone as I am sure some have already taken the week off, so just leave a message or a voicemail. It may seem simple because it is! These simple touches build your relationships with your clients and referral sources. By doing this simple task you are showing your clients and referral sources that you care about them and appreciate them.
It’s a bit difficult for me to call you and wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday weekend! Please know that I appreciate you for taking the time to visit my blog and I truly appreciate the many emails and comments I receive from my posts. I wish for you a wonderful holiday filled with great moments which create lasting memories.
You still have time to get this important follow up strategy completed! However at this point you are a bit limited on how you can get this done. One way is to make a mad rush to the store and buy boxes of holiday cards only to spend today and most of the weekend writing them out. I must say the thought of you actually doing thing is making me tired! I know as I have done this so many times in the past! I am sure if you have not yet sent your holiday cards you know you need to and have just been procrastinating to the very last minute!
Don’t worry! You have another option available to you which will allow you to send all of your holiday cards within a few hours. Whether you need to send 100 or 2,000 holiday cards you still have time to get it done! It all starts with having access to a powerful system called SendOutCards!
SendOutCards is a very simple online tool which allows you to upload all of your addresses, choose a holiday card from over 1,000 choices, type out a nice holiday message, and with a few clicks send to your entire database! Your cards are then printed, stuffed in envelopes with a real stamp, and placed in the mail the next day! The best part is you can actually send the same holiday card to 500 customers and prospects and then go back and write additional messages to your top 25 customers and prospects to make them more personal. This means no customer or prospect is forgotten! SendOutCards also allows you to add gifts to your cards! So if you should be sending a little something extra to those top clients you are covered! To learn more about this tool visit SendOutCards and click on the top banner to send a free card and get the tour.
There is just no other service on the market that can do this with such ease! I have used this service for the past few years for holiday cards as well as all the different business greeting card occasions with great success. This is not just a holiday card tool!
If you happen to be one of those thinking “it’s too late to send holiday cards at this point” or “does sending holiday cards really make a difference in my business?”, I would encourage you to consider recent research by Hallmark: Hallmark found that businesses say they use greeting cards as a “kind of investment in their business… They’re investing in customer relationship with the hopes that it will pay back”. The company has conducted research that found at least half of customers who received holiday cards from businesses say they are more likely to continue doing business with that company versus another one. You can read more on this by reading the article in the Washington Post.
So the question to ask yourself is not whether you should send holiday cards or not… The question is whether you want your current customers to continue doing business with you!