"The Art of the Follow-Up"
"Should I call or email?" "Should I wait a day or so?" "I just really don't want to annoy the client, or sound too desperate for the work"
These are very common thoughts when discussing when to follow-up with a client. Sometimes these occur after a proposal has been sent, and sometimes after a request for more information about your company has been sent out. Although the circumstance may change, the process should not. Mastering the art of the follow-up is one of the most underrated techniques for success in growing business.
Here are some tips and to keep in mind:
Always call first, until you get to know the preferred method of contact from the client/potential client
Be honest, but not aggressive
Set a goal of the follow-up. Try the order below, and repeat until you receive a firm "yes" or "no"
The key is in the approach. Be honest with why you are making the call… Try a script similar to the example below:
"I heard you were looking for a new plumber, I own XYZ and would love to the opportunity to earn your business. I recently sent over some info and wanted to follow up and make sure you received it. Maybe we can go to lunch and talk about what you're looking for and see if we would be a good fit"
After your initial follow up, keep following up periodically, with decreasing frequency until you receive a definitive yes or no. If the client is not responding, try different times of the day, or different days of the week.
Try making fun of yourself, or being different and bold by saying something like… "When are you going to let me get you a proposal so I don't have to keep sending you annoying emails"...
There is an exponential difference in being pushy or "salesy", and being consistent throughout the sales process. In my experience, people hate "salesy" and aggressive, but respect and appreciate being thorough and consistent. Keep in mind that although it is a priority to you, it may not be to the client. Maybe the contact is not the one actually in charge at the company of bringing in the new plumber…
Or… And the one reason to always follow up… Maybe… the client/potential client is testing companies out to see who would value their business more…The businesses you want to work with will value the thoroughness in an attempt to earn their business, as long as your approach is honest, and professional. This happens much more often than people would believe (plenty of personal experience) and it is why it is worth being proactive and thorough with your follow-up techniques.
You should always show you want the business, and that you're willing to work to get it.
Who am I...? I am someone who realizes how much I don't know. I have a passion for growing businesses, and love the blend of creativity and structure required for successful marketing. Made some mistakes, then made bigger ones, but have occasionally done things well. I love to see business grow, and would welcome the opportunity to help out anyone I can. Feel free to email me with any questions/comments/hate mail/ etc…