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The Secret of Effective Follow-Up
This weeks 5 Minute Marketing Tip is all about follow-up: something very many people struggle with.
I’m sure you’ve been in the situation where you’ve had a meeting with a potential client about an opportunity to work together. Or you’ve submitted a proposal. Or you’ve discussed something with them and you’re waiting for them to take the next step.
But, of course, the deadline for their action comes and goes and you don’t hear back from them.
You’re now in a dilemma. Do you chase them to ask what’s happening and run the risk of annoying them and being seen as a nag?
Or do you leave them alone and run the risk that it drops to a low priority because no one is reminding them about it?
Watch this week’s video to see how to break free of that dilemma…
For my comprehensive guide to follow-up, click here:
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It’s Ian here. Welcome to another five minute marketing tip. This week’s tip, I am going to share the secret of effective follow up, something so many people really struggle with. I’ll see you after the break.
Welcome back, I’m sure you’ve been in this position yourself. I know I have, where you’ve had a meeting with a potential client and you’ve talked about an opportunity to work together, or you’ve submitted a proposal, or you’ve done something else with a client where they’ve said they’ll get back to you. Inevitable, the time passes, and they don’t, and it all goes quiet. What do you do then? You’ve got a real dilemma, because if you chase them and nag them to see what’s happened to the proposal, or whether they’re going to proceed with the opportunity, you run the risk of annoying them and damaging your relationship with them. On the other hand, if you don’t chase them and nag them, you run the risk that it stays as a low priority for them and they never get back to you and it just drags on. What do you do?
The secret is you have to go back to basics. The real problem here is that if the only time you’re communicating with clients and potential clients is whenever you need something from them. You’re nagging them, you’re chasing them, you want to ask a favor, then you’ve got a real problem, because then all the time, they’ll come to see every communication from you as a issue for them, something they’ve got to do work with. They’ll come to dread, or at least cringe, whenever they see your name appearing on an email, or your phone number appearing when you’ve called them. They’ll end up avoiding you.
What you want to do instead is be in a position where they are looking forward to emails and phone calls and other communications from you. You do that by regularly communicating with them in a value added way all the time, not just when you want something. What do I mean by that? I mean, firstly prioritizing your potential clients, and your clients of course as well, and business partners, but let’s talk about potential clients here. Let’s say you categorize them. You figure out all of all the people you’ve met, there are ten really high potential clients of who you’d really like to communicate with at least once a month. Then there are maybe another twenty or thirty not so important, not so high potential clients, but you never know. Maybe you’re going to communicate with them on an ongoing basis every ninety days.
What you do for the high potential ones, every thirty days, or maybe even a bit more often, you have a sit down. You look through what you know about them. You look through your notes. That’s of course where your introductions and your questioning of them, and how you got to know them, gives you clues as to what their hopes, their fears, their goals, their aspirations, their problems and their challenges are. Those then become things you can communicate with them about. They’ll appreciate that communication. You might send them an article on a topic you know they’re interested in. You might introduce them to people who you think might think be useful. You might invite them to events. You might call them up just to share some industry news or some gossip. Anything as long as you know it’s going to be valuable to them. You try and do that once a month for your top priority potential clients, and you try to do that at least once a quarter for the rest, the twenty or thirty of the other ones. What that means is you get three really great things.
Firstly, it means when it does come time for you to chase them for something, if you’ve had an opportunity that’s disappeared, firstly they’ll actually open your emails and they’ll take your calls, because subconsciously they’ve associated your calls and your emails with something useful and valuable. They’ll smile whenever they see your name on the “from” or they’ll smile whenever they get a call from you. Secondly, because you’ve given all this great value to them over time, they’ll feel they owe you a favor. They’re much more likely to take that call, open the email, and do something, actually respond to you. Finally, if you continue to add value, and you actually add value in the email or the communication where you are chasing them, so instead of asking about the progressive opportunity, you actually send them something useful. Let’s say you had an opportunity. You were talking to them about manufacturing cost reduction. What you do instead of chasing them to say you’re still interested in that opportunity, you actually send them an article you’ve written about manufacturing cost reduction or a link to a benchmark study or some other useful information. Then at the bottom, you say “By the way, are you still interested in progressing that opportunity?” What it means, is you’ve continued to add value, you’ve continued to build good will, and you’ve built credibility that helps position you for that opportunity even more.
All those three things together mean it is much more likely that you are going to end up being responded to, and of course you’re going to win the business at the end of the day. In many ways, it’s a lot like the Branson meetings I talked about in last week’s five minute marketing tip. With Branson meetings, what you’re trying to do is position yourself as a really valuable person to have a meeting with. Here, what you’re trying to do, is regularly communicate in value added ways to your highest potential clients and prospects, so that they see communications from you as being value added. They’ll look forward to receiving them. They’ll respond to them and they’ll interact with you and they’ll view you very favorably. Make sure you’re doing that. Make sure you’re adding value in your communications in a regular basis to your highest potential prospects and clients.
If you’re looking for some ideas on how to do that, look at the the twenty one word email which many of you may have. If you haven’t, there are opt in forms all over the website for you to sign up and get. That will give you some great ideas on how to resurrect some old relationships and get back in touch, in a value added way. The follow on from that, the reignite program, which is a paid program I have, will give you a whole bunch more ideas for different situations and give you detailed training on that. Do take a look at those.
I’ll see you next week. Cheers.