Advice:The fortune’s in the follow-up!

By , published on 28th October 2010

As a business owner, it can often be hard to know at what point you cross the line from being persistent to being borderline pushy when it comes to following up sales leads.  Having made one or two attempts to stay in touch and got nowhere, therefore, most begin to back down and head off in a new direction, all the time spending more and more money on yet another advertising or marketing campaign that falls short of the mark and watching their profits being eaten away.

Did you know that research shows that it takes anywhere between seven and 12 contacts with a potential client to make a sale, but that actually most businesses give up after just two attempts?  Why does it take so many contacts?  Think for a moment about the retail trade.  If you are in the market for a big-branded chocolate bar, it doesn’t really matter which supermarket or local store you call into.  The chocolate bar will be the same wherever you buy it from and whether you trust the shop owner or not really doesn’t come into the equation.  Assuming that the seller hasn’t retained her stock well past its sell-by date, it’s just a quick transaction with few or no consequences.

As a service provider, what you have to offer likely costs more than the price of a chocolate bar and there could be many implications for the client if he doesn’t choose the right person to do business with.  Before he will be prepared to part with his hard-earned cash, therefore, he needs to feel secure and that he can trust you, and that means building familiarity and acceptance.

As much as it would be nice to think that our potential clients were all ready to buy just when we want them to, unfortunately life isn’t like that.  Not only do they often need to establish a trusting relationship first, but sometimes their circumstances dictate that they don’t need your services right this minute.  Let’s face it, many of us have a tendency to procrastinate when it comes to finding solutions and only when we’re getting close to, or have crossed our pain threshold do we actually do anything about our situations.

Staying in touch with your prospects, whether by phone, email, fax or direct mail, keeps you at the forefront of their minds so that when they do need what you have to offer, they have somebody whom they have already begun to trust and can turn to.  It doesn’t have to take up all of your time and autoresponders can be a great way of automating much of the process.  Prewritten communications can simply be scheduled to go out to your contacts at regular and predetermined intervals.

Make your contact relevant and regular through a follow-up marketing strategy and there will be every chance that your prospects will come back to you some time down the line.  Lose touch, however, and constantly looking for new contacts will continue to drain you of both time and money.

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Ford Henderson

About Ford Henderson

Ford Henderson is a client attraction marketing expert. He works with professional service business owners across the UK to help them market their business to get a continuous flow of profitable new clients

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