When most people think of ‘following up’ they think of calling or emailing the prospective customer with something along the lines of:
‘Hi, just wanted to check in and see if you were still interested in moving forward with my product/service’
This seems like a perfectly normal way to do it…you may well have even said these exact words to a customer at some point. I certainly have.
The problem is that following up like this is not nearly as effective as we want it to be.
It lacks imagination, it offers no value or reason for the prospect to reply, and if you do it more than once you just seem like you are pestering them.
So how do we follow up more effectively?
Well, first things first, you need to set the stage for effective following up.
When you finish your meeting or send your proposal through you need to set a clear course of action, so the prospect knows what to expect.
Once you’ve delivered the proposal / quote, tell the prospect something along the following lines:
‘Take a couple of days to properly digest the quote and discuss it with any other decision maker. I’ll then give you a call to answer any questions you may have, and to talk about the next steps should you want to proceed’
Now set a firm time and day to call them and make sure you do it!
That’s follow up number 1!
Ok, so that’s the easy bit.
Unfortunately, in the majority of sales, you will need to follow up more than once to get the business.
Now at this point you might be thinking, if they don’t have the decency to come back to me after I deliver the quote or even after I follow up then they are probably not interested, and they are not worth my time chasing.
This is where you are wrong.
The old sales phrase is: ‘The fortune is in the follow up’
Following up is not just where you’ll find the majority of your sales, but it is also where you’ll find the higher value sales.
Let’s say you are a decorator who works on a day rate of £100
And let’s say you tend to close 4/10 of your prospective customers…and more importantly, you don’t currently have a following up process.
Well, what would happen if you tried to put your day rate up to £140?
You’d probably start getting maybe 1/10 jobs instead of 4/10.
Well, not if you had an effective following up procedure in place.
With proper following up, you might find that you could increase your day rate to £140 and still get 4/10 jobs.
And don’t forget, £40 a day extra is £10,000 a year!
Or you could just leave your prices as they are and get 8/10 jobs!
Here are some interesting stats:
That’s right. A full 80% of sales, require 5 – 12 contacts.
The good news is these ‘contacts’ can come in various forms.
Here are 5 ways to follow up effectively:
1. As I mentioned earlier, when you deliver the quotation, tell them you’ll call them in 48 hours to answer any questions they may have. This is your first follow up.
The phone call will start with something as simple as ‘Hi, it’s Jon from JM decorators. Now that you’ve had a chance to digest the quotation properly, do you have any questions or concerns you’d like to discuss?
2. Email some before and after pictures. You might already have shown the customer some of your work during the meeting, but now you have more information you can send them some more relevant pictures. Now you know the sort of colours they are interested in and the size of the room, you can show them before and after pictures of similar projects. This will really help them visualise what you are offering.
Again, you could mention during the initial meeting when you’re measuring up that you’ll send over some pictures of similar jobs to see if it helps give them some inspiration.
3. Send them something more creative and personal. Did they mention they were interested in geometric designs? Send some images like the below to them. This doesn’t have to be via email, if you are connected on social media then just tag them.
4. Are they concerned about how colours and designs can change the feel of the room? Send some infographics like the below.
5. Are they looking for something to make their home unique? Share some of the latest trends like the below stair riser designs or whitewashed wood feature walls.
As a decorator you will have more insights about the latest trends than you probably give yourself credit for.
You’ll know things like whether it’s better to have the same colour above the picture rail the same as the ceiling or not.
All of these little things that you might assume everyone knows are actually very valuable insights for a customer, and when you share them it makes you stand out from the competition.
Putting it all in action
Take 15 minutes to sit and write down 4 or 5 ways you can add extra value to a customer with your industry insights.
Now combine them with some of the standard following up methods I’ve detailed above.
Once you have that list, save all the article links and pictures to a file on your laptop.
All you need to do then is pick and choose the relevant ones for each customer and drip feed the info to them over a 2 – 3 week period.
Remember, you only come across as a desperate pest if you are not bringing something new and valuable to the conversation each time.
And this is not what you are doing.
You are offering some useful information for the client every time you make contact.
Once you have that file of follow up tactics on your laptop it’ll literally take you 30 seconds a day to follow up with each customer. It’s very little effort but could bring huge rewards.