Following up with potential clients is a part of the sales process that many people either neglect or forget about. If you want to grow your business, following-up is essential. Many times a potential client is simply too busy to get back to you or they forgot. If that person is someone you really want to work with then you need to follow up before they fall off your radar (and vice versa).
The art of the follow up
Get their business card
If you are at a networking event or conference don’t be shy! Express your interest in connecting, ask for their business card and let them know you’ll send them an email. This way they will not be surprised when they see an email from you and they will see firsthand that you’re committed and keep your word. Make sure to store their information in a customer relationship management (CRM) software – including their address and website.
Know when to follow up
If the contact is someone you met at a networking event, then you will want to follow up as soon as possible—as soon as the next day even. Send the contact a brief email expressing how nice it was to meet them and let them know you’d love to keep in contact regarding XYZ. You can even offer to meet for coffee to get to know them better.
If you’re following up with a client regarding a proposal, make a note of when to follow up if you haven’t heard from them, but make sure enough time has passed between when you last contacted them and when you’re going to follow up – typically 3-5 days or more. Understand that the customer may have received other proposals as well and needs to give all interested parties an equal chance.
Use a calendar
If there is a contact you want to follow up with write it down in your planner or put it in your digital calendar. Set a reminder to follow up when the time is appropriate. For multiple follow ups, set aside a day a month or every couple of months to follow up with clients you haven’t heard from in awhile or to follow up with new contacts.
Know what to say
Keep follow-up messages brief, but friendly. You can also call, but again, keep it brief, friendly and non-pushy. If the client has not had the opportunity to read through a proposal, be understanding and let them know they are welcome to reach out should they have any questions or concerns regarding the proposal.
If you’re following up just to chat, get to the point: let them know you’d love to work together and that you’re interested in setting up a meeting.
Connect on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a social network meant to connect professionals. When you send someone a request to connect, remind them of how you met and let them know why you are interested in connecting. I do not recommend connecting on Facebook. For many people, Facebook is a personal space where users share photos and information mainly with people they know, such as family.
Keep it brief
As mentioned before, all follow-ups should be brief and to the point. Make sure you are friendly and always give them an invitation to contact you and keep the lines of communication open, but don’t throw a sales pitch into a follow-up call or email, it can turn people off really quickly.
Know when it’s time to move on
If you have emailed a couple of times and/or called and left a message with no responses then it’s time to move on. The person is either not interested in connecting or is too busy. This isn’t to say they won’t reach out in the future, but after a couple of attempts move on to other prospects.
If you find yourself struggling to find the time to follow up with potential clients then it may be time to work with a virtual assistant who specializes in professional communication and customer relationship management. You may be surprised how a simple follow up can grow your business. Contact us to find out more.