The Fortune Is In The Follow Up

It has been said that “the main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.” The challenge is to know what the main thing is. For this article and the sales focus that I have, I am defining sales follow up as the main thing. In sales, the fortune is in the follow up.

 

You and I, we run small to medium size businesses and we know that revenue is generated when we contract out our services, both residential and commercial. Yet not every sales encounter is a guaranteed sale. It is all part of a process and it is easy to be distracted and not follow up on prospects and customers. The main thing does not become the main thing.

 

Here are five GETS to use to follow up with inquires for your contracting services:

 

  1. Get Smarter.

Most sales books and sales trainings cover this in detail. I have been teaching sales development for 30+ years and this area of qualification seems to be a weak link. Here are five questions you can reflect on when qualifying.

  1. Does the person want to talk with you? (says easy – does hard)
  2. Are you talking with someone who can make a business decision to use you?
  3. Do they have an apparent need for your contracting services?
  4. Do they have a sense of urgency to address their need?
  5. Do they trust you (person) and your company?

 

  1. Get Organized.

Invest in software that can track your prospects and customers. There are many tools available called Customer Relationship Management (CRM) packages that are cloud based and require only a monthly subscription. The return on your investment is a place where all of this information can be stored, sorted, organized, and used to leverage keeping “the main thing, the main thing.”

 

  1. Get Educated.

Offer your prospects and customers valuable tips, techniques, and ideas. When they see you as a value added resource in their decision making process, you will have a much easier time with #1 (Get Smarter). Also, using your CRM package (#2) allows you to automate this process and push information out to your prospects and customers.

 

  1. Get Addresses.

Most people in business can get into a prospect or customer’s email inbox, yet I am recommending we go “old school” and get into their mailbox. There are a few tools that help you connect with Thank You cards and personalized gifts. These tools keep the main thing the main thing by connecting with your customers in a special way. Birthdays, pictures of projects (their project) on a greeting card, delivered in the mail sets YOU apart from the pack. Complete a high dollar commercial or residential job, send brownies or a coffee mug to the customer as a Thank You gift. Personalize it with THEIR name and you have a conversation starter.

 

  1. Get Started.

Another phrase is “do the right thing next and the next thing right.” You see, we can all get busy with the tyranny of the urgent. Business and life can interrupt us and distract us from keeping the main thing the main thing. So you have to commit to GET 1 – 4 today. When you do the right thing next, you get the right qualifying questions (GET #1), you invest in the tools to organize (GET #2), you offer your prospects and customers some technical advice (GET #3), and you start collecting the business (and home) addresses for sending cards and gifts (GET #4). Doing the next thing right is the process of continued improvement. Yes you will make some mistakes along the way to follow up, but you will get better and your sales cycle will shorten with prolonged effort.

 

Follow up is critical in the success of any business. Recently I have reached out to several types of businesses for quotes on things such as backyard deck installation, HVAC maintenance, moving quotes, and locations to host a wedding reception. Only one company followed up with my inquires. Some started as phone calls, some started as website research with them offering their email address for communication. Only one company out of 10 inquires.

 

In sales, almost everyone starts as a suspect. With proper qualification, we can determine if they are a prospect for our contracting services. Perhaps they are, yet the need is not urgent enough. Fine, we follow up with the things above until the need is greater. Perhaps they are a prospect and turn into a customer; terrific. Now we continue to follow up for future repeat business, referrals, and recommendations.

 

The fortune is truly in the follow up as we keep the main thing, the main thing.

 

Note: If you are interested in my recommendations for third party resources for GET #2 and GET #4, contact me at tueffert@aol.com.

Curt Tueffert is the VP of sales development for DXP Enterprises, a Houston-based industrial distributor. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Houston, teaching sales and marketing. Curt is also the author of 5 Stones For Slaying Giants and 201 Sales Motivators.

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