the conversations blog

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How to follow-up

Tuesday December 4, 2018 comments

The importance of having a communication strategy is also to sell your services to the right audience. It allows you to stop wasting time because you don’t know how you are going to build relationships with the people you meet.  

Everyone knows that there is fortune in the follow-up, but how the hell do you get to that fortune without sounding like a sleazy salesperson? It’s a feeling that keeps people from using the connections they make to build a prosperous business. Follow-up takes multiple touches, meaning multiple attempts at communicating with your prospect to get engagement.  Did you know it usually takes five to seven touches before a prospect will take the next step in your sales process? Did you know that it takes multiple forms of communication to make up enough touches for that prospect to bite? 

Lack of effective follow-up is the number-one killer of sales. All of my clients, without exception, found they were following up with prospects ineffectivelyIt gets overlooked, but if done effectively, follow-up can provide the greatest success. Realizing that you’re not good at this can be a tough pill to swallow for any entrepreneur, especially if you have experienced previous success. Just remember, theres always room for improvement.   

One particular client identified her lack of follow-up early on in her business. We started working together and found a solution for her through my 8 Touch Follow-Up strategy, which you will learn in detail later. Together, we focused on the problems her ideal client faced and presented those problems in a bold yet conversational manner. We identified the sales process she needed to lead her clients to work with her, and set the communication strategy to do its magic.  

She followed the process and repeatedly had prospects move on to the next step of her sales process, usually between the fifth and eighth touch. 80 percent of conversions happen after the fifth touch. You may be wondering, why go to eight then? The answer is it gives you three more opportunities to get your prospect to engage. 93 percent of entrepreneurs give up after the second touch. Which one will you be?  

A follow-up strategy also takes leadership. You must lead your prospect from one conversation to the next. Think of it this way: it’s impossible to follow if you don’t know how to lead. During your sales process, you are leading your prospect from one conversation to the next to get them comfortable with being sold to and you comfortable with selling. If they don’t know what the next step looks like, they will decide what needs to happen by themselves. Those damn assumptions show up once again!  

Your prospect may have objections. It could be that they currently aren’t in a place to afford your services or the timing isn’t right. There could be a multitude of reasons, but no matter what it is, it is now your responsibility to stay connected to them and to follow-up with them until they are ready.  

I want you to imagine a table with two chairs. One chair is for a person who has a problem. The other chair is for the person with the solution to the problem. The conversation begins with the person with a problem sharing their pain points and their desire to fix the problem. The other person educates on how their solution can solve the problem and addresses each of the pain points. It’s just a conversation.  

That is sales. Simply an exchange of problems and solutions. Throughout our day, we are constantly on one side of the table or the other. When you are at a restaurant, your pain point or problem is that you are hungry. The server solves your hunger by bringing you food. This may seem like a trite example, but thats the point. The sales conversation is simple: it is an exchange of needs and solutions.  
When you are on the solution side of the table, your sole responsibility is to educate your prospect on the solutions and effectively communicate the steps it takes to solve their problem.  

Assuming that you have the solution to your prospects problem is a dangerous place to be. This is why it is critical that you ask the right questions and guide them through the process. During your follow-up strategy, you will again be visited by negative head trash. You will make assumptions about why they had an objection and why they didn’t purchase right away.  

Don’t allow the assumptions to take over. Trust the process and don’t fall into the 93 percent category. When your prospect doesn’t respond to you after one or two emails, you may start hearing this in your mind: “They’ve moved on. Don’t bother them anymore.” And “If they were interested, they would’ve said somethingThey must have found someone else to help them. Put it all aside—this negative chatter keeps you from moving forward. It keeps you from providing the solution to problems!  

Here’s what is really happening with your prospect. He or she has a million things to do. They have their own business, their own lives, their own emails to tend to and every other distraction coming their way. Think about your day-to-day. Have you ever missed an email? Have you ever said to yourself, “Oh, I know I need to get back to that person! Of course, you have! Your prospect is no different. This is what you need to know about follow-up: until your prospect gives you a yes or a no, it’s your responsibility to stay in front of them.  

Your leadership is the key to correcting assumptions about the prospects you haven’t gotten a yes or a no from. You need to lead them through the steps, all the way through, and give them the opportunity to connect with you. My process takes us all the way through eight touches. If you follow the system and stick to it, you will hear from your prospect and get the answer you need to on-board them as a client or to let them sail off in the ocean.