We had our monthly marketing workshop yesterday. It’s a small group session where we share ideas and help each other find ways to get more customers. I always leave with a lot of good ideas.
A theme that popped up repeatedly throughout the discussion was keeping in touch with people. From calling on former customers to checking in on new leads, everyone agreed it is critical to stay in touch with people on a regular basis.
Another reason is people have a lot of things going on. What’s important one day may drop off their radar screen the next. Priorities change from day to day as life intrudes on people’s plans.
Put these two facts together and you can see what happens:
A person decides they’re interested in our product or service. They call or they stop by. We chat and things seem to be going well. Then they leave and we never hear from them again.
The fact is they’re still interested but, because our business is new to them they might not feel comfortable making the purchase yet. They need to warm up to us. Their trust level still needs to move up the scale.
So they leave without making a purchase and then reality steps in. Their focus turns to something else and soon their interest in our product or service moves so far down their priority scale they forget about it.
It’s not that they have decided not to buy from us. It’s not that they have lost interest. They simply need more time to get through the buying cycle, so they feel comfortable doing business with us.
Our job then is to help them move through the buying cycle and raise their comfort level so they’ll decide to work with us.
The key to accomplishing this is with follow-up.
We need to find ways to re-engage people, to re-connect with them so they remember whay they were interested in our product or service in the first place. We need to help them stop, if only for a moment, and say “Oh yeah, I should look into that…”
But we need to do the follow-up in a way that is professional, not pestering. We need to show them our goal is to help them rather than to just make a sale.
In our meeting yesterday, we discussed some ways to keep in touch without being a pest.
We all agreed that when we follow-up you should have something for the person we’re contacting. Maybe it’s a “VIP” card that gives them a special discount. Maybe it’s a token for a free cup of coffee. Maybe we find an article about their industry that they might find interesting.
When we show up with something for them, we are showing them our focus is on them, not ourself. If every time we contact someone we give the impression we’re just looking for a sale, they’ll think of us only as a salesperson looking for a commission.
But, if we always have something for them (a gift, an article, a referral, an invitation to a business event, even some local news or gossip) then we become someone they enjoy talking with. We become a welcome break in their busy day.
At this point we’ve made a new friend who should have no hesitation becoming a customer. We’ve become part of their world so when they want or need what we offer they’ll think of us first. And they’re more likely to send referrals our way.
How do you follow-up with new leads in your business? What have you found works to keep in touch with people so they don’t go away and never come back?