At a recent event I met a couple of individuals who really impressed me. They both were product providers. Products that I clearly indicated a curiosity about – both for myself and possibly clients. Both conversations were positive and ended with me saying, “This sounds really interesting – I’d like to learn more – can we connect in the next week or so?” Both replies were to the effect of ‘absolutely’.
It’s been over two weeks. Neither individual has followed up. I know why.
There is no system or process to follow up with prospects. Nothing documented that makes their follow up “easy”. Each time they get a lead they start all over....if they even start.
Research shows that only 20% of sales leads are ever followed up. That means 80% of potential opportunities are lost without a trace simply due to lack of follow-up.
Thousands of dollars lost in sales every day, because well intended people have not established systems and processes to follow up and cultivate relationships. Business cards of interested prospects tucked in pockets and handbags, folders and notebooks the potential of great revenue….lost…..to you forever.
Because we know what happens when they are found. Time has passed, guilt for not following up sets in and the cards….those leads….the potential revenue.... go right in the trash.
These business cards, these leads, must be treated with more respect than loose change you drop in the bottom of your purse.
Stop the insanity business owner friends!
With a couple of minor adjustments, some personal commitment and dedication you can find several thousand dollars in new revenue this year.
Block time on your calendar to follow up each week.
On Friday each week at the end of your day carve out 30 minutes to look into the next week and schedule follow up time. If you have networking events on Tuesday and Thursday – block out and time on your calendar that specifically says follow up no later than the following day of any networking activity.
Have a documented process for follow up.
From a personal email expressing your pleasure at meeting them, reminding them of their interest in what you offer and asking for a time to connect to learn more about what they found intriguing in your offering; to scheduling reminders to check in if they do not respond; and to actively entering into your CRM (Zoho is my favorite). If you have a process you increase the actuality of follow up AND increase the potential for closing a new deal.
Just DO it
Nike wasn’t wrong. If you are having cash flow problems one of the first places to look is with systems and processes. Establish them and execute.
I’ve been in sales since the age of 24, roles where I was responsible for bringing in new business.
I've read dozens of different studies carried out at different times, in different places, by different market research companies over a number of years all reveal that 80% of non-routine sales occur only after at least five follow-ups.
Think about that.
It takes at least five continuous follow up efforts after the initial sales contact, before a customer says yes. FIVE!
There are some fascinating statistics on this:
44% of sales people give up after one "no"
22% give up after two "nos"
14% give up after three "nos"
12% give up after four "nos"
That tells you that 92% of sales people give up after four "no's", and only 8% cent of sales people ask for the order a fifth time.
When you consider that 80% of prospects say "no" four times before they say "yes", the inference is that 8% of sales people are getting 80% of the sales.
Who will you follow up with today?
Debbie Page Whitlock is a business coach and leading authority on cash flow for women entrepreneurs, and writes on all things related to creating sustainable, scalable and potentially salable businesses and other useful bits of business wisdom she’s acquired on her 20 year entrepreneurial odyssey.