The Importance of Good Follow-Up
We all know that good follow-up is vital in sales. According to the Gartner Group, almost 70% of leads are mishandled in some way. So great follow-up will give effective professionals, business owners and sales people a huge advantage over less rigorous competitors.
But how many times have you come back from a meeting or networking event and received this sort of email?
It was lovely to meet you earlier today. If you ever have need of our services in the future, feel free to contact me on xxxx xxx xxxx.
Yours, Mr Never-likely-to-get-a-call.
Have you sent out something similar? I hope not. How can anyone think this sort of follow-up is going to bring results?
Most people we meet casually, or at networking events tend to fit into the “might do business with, but might not” category. For most of us, we don't have time for a “follow-up coffee” with people in this category – we have to reserve our in-person follow-ups for people highly likely to give us business themselves or refer business to us.
And it's the same in reverse. Many people who we would like to build a relationship with may not immediately see the value in building a relationship with us. But we can significantly increase our chances of this if we follow-up effectively.
The best follow-up is one that adds value to the recipient. Perhaps some thoughts to help them, or links to useful resources. The more it's clear you've thought about them and how to help them, the more likely they are to classify you as “someone to trust”.
Of course, in order to do that, you need to understand what might be useful to them. And that means that you need to ask them questions during the event (and remember or take note of the answers) to identify what would be helpful. Understanding their business challenges or goals is critical to this.
If you can't add value straight away tell them you'll be looking out for them in future – and specifically name what you'll be doing. For example “…I found your ideas on growing your business through relationships with accountants in your local area really interesting. If I identify any accountants who fit the bill in future I'll be sure to pass on their names to you”.
And of course, you really must make good on your promise.
Personally, I keep a list of all my “interesting and important” contacts with bullet points on the sorts of things that would be useful and helpful for them. I review this list monthly so that my radar is always active and on the lookout for how I can be helpful. For high priority target clients I review this weekly and frequently build in time to my schedule to actively look for resources to help them.
It's not guaranteed to have impact – but it's a darn site more likely than the more common “…if you ever have need of our services…” email.
For my comprehensive guide to follow-up, click here: