FOLLOW-UP SHOULD BE DONE CONSISTENTLY (FOLLOW-UP: PART 3)
May 31, 2019
Last week, I talked about how follow-up should be done purposefully. There needs to be a reason. There needs to be an objective. Once you understand the importance of follow-up and realize that it needs to be done intentionally, the next step is understanding the consistency of your follow-up.
Random follow-up is certainly better than no follow-up at all, but there needs to be a plan for your follow-up that is consistent in order to really see results. This also helps to ensure you stay on track. Your work day is busy. Trying to remember to follow-up with people and relying on good intentions is not going to cut it. There needs to be a follow-up plan that is consistent with your schedule and workweek so your follow-up doesn’t become hit or miss. The below represents a general negative trend of the follow-up pattern of salespeople we have worked with and have been able to help:
1. You have a realization that you need to follow-up.
2. You begin to follow-up more with prospects and are excited about it.
3. You have a busy week and forget to follow-up.
4. You have another busy week and forget to follow-up.
5. You are becoming overwhelmed with other tasks and decide to quit following-up.
6. Weeks later, you realize that you need to follow-up.
7. Repeat steps 2-5.
So, how can you get out of this negative pattern and begin to find consistency (and longevity) with your follow-up? It begins by putting together a specific and consistent follow-up plan that fits your business model. In our business, every company we work with or want to work with is placed into certain groups. We have several groups that we place companies in. Some of these groups include: generally receptive, current quotes & estimates, scheduled callbacks, and our client group. Without giving everything away, let me give you an example of how we follow-up with just one of these groups.
Let’s take our “generally receptive” group for example. This group consists of companies who have never brought anything from us before, but they have shown interest. They haven’t said “no” and every time I speak to them, they give me permission to stay in touch with them. So, what does a consistent follow-up plan look like for the “generally receptive?”
First, it means that you have a set time/duration to follow-up. Specifically, for us, the "generally receptive group" have a one-year life period. If someone in the generally receptive still hasn’t bought from us in their first year, then we will move them to the “no response group."
Second, it means having a specific plan. The objective of following-up with the generally receptive is to move them to either a specific time to contact them when they will need items, move them to a quote, move them to order, or move them to a “hard no” so I can move on. Throughout the course of the year, the generally receptive will receive contact from me once per month through a drip campaign I have set up hoping to meet this objective. The drip campaign could include an e-mail, a phone call, a card, a gift campaign touch (using promo items), a personal visit, etc. The idea here is to go ahead and map out your 12 “touches” so you don’t have to think about it.
All of the people in the generally receptive group will be followed-up by me the same way and at the same time each month. This makes it extremely easy for me to remember and be consistent. So, for example, let me give you a 12-month follow-up plan below of what it looks like for me to follow-up with my generally receptive group:
· January – Phone call
· February – Send out a promo item
· March – E-mail
· April – Handwritten card
· May – Phone call
· June – Send out a promo item
· July – E-mail
· August – Handwritten card
· September – Phone call
· October – Send out a promo item.
· November – E-mail
· December – Handwritten card.
It doesn’t matter when or where someone begins, because the process will be consistent throughout the year. If after 12 months, the company still hasn’t moved to action or told us no, then we move on. The above is only an illustration, but it shows you how simple it can be if you are willing to put the time into it. For every “group”, we have a similar plan. It will look different for each group and the duration may be different, but the idea is the same.
Is it possible to be consistent in following-up with prospects and clients? Absolutely! As seen above, not only is it possible, but it is very manageable if you are willing to have a plan and be consistent with it. So, the take away I want you to have in this article is to be consistent with your follow-up. This week, take the time to segment your prospects into groups and begin to build your follow-up plan that is consistent to you, your prospects, your business, and your time. Before you know it, you’ll become a follow-up machine. Next week, we will continue our education by looking at how follow-up must be done creatively.
- Kevin Pendergrass