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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Why are you collecting business cards on your desk?

Today I was sitting at my desk scouring the internet looking for the allusive driver for my laptop which I had just wiped and reloaded with Windows XP.  Between what seemed to be hundreds of downloads trying one driver after another I was frightened by a small stack of business cards which seemed to be accumulating on my desk.

You know that stack of business cards that seems to grow and grow by your stapler, next to your pen cup, at the corner of your desk, or possibly a neatly 3 inch stack under your monitor…  Depending on your networking and social activities you can easily add another inch to your stack every month!  If you are anything like I used to be, this stack moves into some type of container or drawer.  Eventually all these business cards will end up in a box to be saved forever or at least until you find the box and realize you have business cards from people you met one time at a networking event three years ago whom you have never contacted.   Unless of course you have some strange desire to sell them on ebay 20 years from now there is no point in this.

Don’t worry you can save yourself from this tragedy!  How do you do it?  First look at the cards on your desk.  Is there 25, 50, or 250 business cards?  Using 50 for an example quickly look at each one and decide if this is someone you would like to connect with to explore a more meaningful relationship.  Once this is completed pick up the phone and explain to the contact your new found mission!  At this point you might be thinking to yourself mission, what mission?  The mission is to not collect business cards, keep them on your desk for months, and then finally years later throw them away.  Why not call them and say something like “Hi Alan, we met last month and a networking event and I have decided to take a new approach on the business cards I collect.  What I would like to know is how I might help you in your business?”  Or you can say something like I discussed in my previous post “I have to talk to the person again?”.

Imagine what you can create by simply engaging the people whom you have collected all these cards!  Jordan Adler, a networking master and expert in collecting business cards talks about the value of one business card in his recent book Beach Money.  Jordan Adler discusses how he turns one little square piece of paper into thousands of dollars.  How much business could you expect from one lifetime customer?  The answer will depend on your type of business.  In the book he asked a group this same question and the answers ranged from $2,000 to $300,000.  Jordan believes when he collects 100 business cards it is his job is to turn some of them into lifelong customers.  Each time he takes action the chances of one or more of those business card contacts turning into lifelong a customer increases.  Examples of actions to take are making a quick phone call, sending a greeting card, buying each person lunch, sending a gift, sending the contact business, staying in touch, and with some contacts doing all of these things.  So what is the lifetime value of YOUR customer?  Jordan does not look at a business card as just a card.  He looks at them like $100 and $1,000 bills.  Would you ignore $100 bills stacked up 3 inches high on your desk? 

Simply commit to call 3 or 4 of these cards each day until the stack is gone.  Once you have made this connection add these people into some kind of database.  You can use Outlook, ACT!, GoldMine, salesforce.com, or even index cards.  The database you choose is not important.  What is important is that you take notes on what you talked about and add them to your database for future reference, referrals, or business opportunities.  Once these cards are in your database THROW THEM AWAY or GIVE THEM AWAY!  Just don’t leave them sitting on your desk.