In the sales and marketing world, when all else fails, do you know what we say?
F. U. — follow up.
When you meet people and you talk to them about your business, the opportunities you provide, and how your products or services can really help them, you might think they’re going to be just as excited as you are about getting started.
But the reality is they are not. And you never know why because you never heard from them again.
For 43 percent of salespeople, this is the case. They give up after the first contact. They say, “Oh well, I tried. I guess they’re just not interested. Let’s move on to the next one.”
If you ask me, the real fortune is in the follow up. In fact, 60 percent of buyers say no to a sale a whopping four times before saying yes — and if you give up after the first call, you miss out on a whirlwind of opportunities to build concrete, trusting relationships with your prospects (and close sales).
The buyer’s journey is getting more and more convoluted. The way people make purchase decisions is changing. More often than not, a single conversation simply just isn’t going to get you the results you’re looking for.
But when you take the time to really get to know your prospects, to answer their questions and overcome their objections, to develop a concrete follow-up process and make sure your team is all on the same page, you’ll find these goals get easier and easier to achieve.
Now, let’s dive into some ways you can go about following up alongside some common tools of the trade so you can set everything in motion.
First things first, you need to start by outlining a concrete, clear, and cohesive follow-up process. You need to know exactly what you’re going to do and say from start to finish.
In my experience, the magic really starts to happen around follow ups four, five, and six — and the most effective follow-up processes have a total of 5 to 7 steps.
Whatever this might look like for you, just make sure your process is set up so you’re checking in with people at a consistent yet unbothersome rate and always keeping the lines of communication open.
Whether it’s a video, a text message, an email, or a phone call, it’s important that we thank our prospects for their time.
At Orangetheory Fitness, we usually send a thank-you text with a short photo or video we took of them in class about 24 hours after their first visit.
Sending thank yous will let your potential customers know you’re thinking of them, that you care about them, that you’re here for them, and it’ll also remind them of what they felt during that initial meeting, priming them for the second.
Having an educational step in your follow-up process is an absolute must. There’s so much you likely want your prospects to understand about what makes your business so great, and creating a vehicle where you can easily deliver this information instead of trying to cram it all into one conversation will streamline your process and keep your prospects engaged.
Maybe you send them an article, or an informational video, or a newsletter related to your industry. At Orangetheory Fitness, we usually try to call them directly about 72 hours after they take their first class.
That’s when we explain the concept of afterburn. Afterburn is essentially just a period of time after a workout where you burn more calories and your metabolism increases. It doesn’t last forever, and if they want to keep their afterburn going, they’ll have to stop in for another class.
Our educational piece is a great opportunity for us to invite our prospects back, but even if yours doesn’t allow for that, making sure you take the time to explain your processes and their benefits is key.
An event invitation is a great way to follow up with your prospects, whether it’s a social meetup or a visit from a keynote speaker.
People love feeling a sense of belonging, and when we create a strong community around our brand, that’ll really resonate with them. They want to feel connected, invited, and involved — and we, as business owners, can make that happen.
There’s nothing more powerful than a testimonial.
In today’s world, the words of your customers might even be more powerful than your own. An incredible 98 percent of consumers turn to reviews when making purchase decisions.
So use this to your benefit. Send your prospects a few testimonials — or better yet, create a video of real customers talking about their past experiences working with you.
Instead of trying to talk to our prospects about why we’re so great, it’ll resonate a lot more if they hear it from someone like them.
Similarly to testimonials, results and case studies are your follow-up friends.
These are used essentially just to show the customer what their life will look like after they really get involved with all you have to offer. Maybe you include a graph, some statistics, or some analytics. Whatever the case, sharing measurable and trustworthy results, facts, and figures is something that people really can’t argue with.
Now that you know some of the basic tactics you can include in your follow-up process, I want to share some common types of tools that might help you out.
- Your phone. Giving someone a call is a tool. Sending them a text message is a tool — and a great one at that, as prospects who are sent text messages convert at a 40 percent higher rate.
- An email.
- A handwritten postcard, thank-you note, or short letter.
- If your business allows it, a personal visit to drop off a small gift is a tool.
- An invite to an event as your personal guest.
- Videos and photos of your business.
- Social media. Great tool for prospecting and promoting.
- Newsletters, articles, and blogs related to your industry.
- Talking to your customers. It’s not what you say about your business, it’s what your customers say about you. How many times have you asked prospects or customers how they heard about you? This is a tool. Use it, and use it often.
- Surveys. Sending surveys to current customers and new prospects will allow you to get feedback on your business, processes, staff, and so much more. You can share your findings, fix what needs fixing, and show your people that you really listen to them, and you really care.
The last piece of advice I have is that if your people aren’t following up, the reason is likely that they don’t have a good plan. You need to sit down with them and explain every step of your follow-up process.
Remember: People are either unwilling or unable. If they are unable, that likely means they haven’t been properly trained. As the business owner, that falls on you. You need to show them exactly what they have to do — and if they still don’t do it, then that means they are unwilling, and maybe it’s time for them to move on to something that’s more fulfilling for them.
So when all else fails? F.U. Follow up. Get creative. Make sure you have the tools and the time frequency to create a successful follow-up process.
I promise you, the fortune is in the follow up.
As always, thanks for reading my blog.
If you’re looking for more advice on how to bring fulfillment and accomplishment into your life, tune into my podcast that airs every Tuesday.