If you are sending out helpful information to your clients that clearly explains what you do, how you do it and why, but you don’t follow up to help your clients benefit from your advice, then this article is for you.
When it comes to generating new business, following up is among the biggest stumbling blocks for many business owners and professionals. In fact, the most common questions our clients ask us are “Should I follow up?” and then, “How do I follow up?”.
In our many discussions with business owners and professional service providers, we’ve observed that failing to follow up is sometimes due to lack of time, but mostly it’s due to a feeling of not wanting to impose on a client or to appear pushy.
What’s important to remember is that prospective clients, or indeed existing clients who may be in need of other services you offer, are often VERY interested in what you have to say. The fact is, they are either too busy to initiate a discussion with you or they don’t realise they have problems that your services can solve.
So, should you follow up? The answer is a resounding YES!
You, your business partners and your team members should all follow up with clients and prospects and let them know how you can help them to do better, achieve more, solve problems and be successful.
So now to the question of ‘how’.
What if you changed your mindset from feeling like you are imposing to feeling like you’re helping?
What if your follow up call is more about providing a duty of care than selling a service?
When your approach to following up comes from a place of genuine care and professional responsibility, those you follow up will recognise and appreciate that you are acting in their best interests.
Whatever you call them – follow up, courtesy or sales calls – the point is to make them and make them regularly.
Not every call will generate a new or immediate opportunity, but there’s every chance a call will open the door to future discussion or even a referral to other potential clients.
The reality is it takes time and regular contact (we call this the know, like and trust process) for existing clients to understand they need particular services and that investing in your advice to achieve outcomes is worthwhile. Time and regular contact are also prerequisites for prospects to migrate from an existing service provider to you.
Here are FIVE simple steps for following up
- When honing your following up skills, begin by making calls to those who already know, like and trust you – your existing clients. Following up your existing clients is valuable as their needs, and need for advice and the services you offer which change the longer they’re in business or as they get older.
- The key is to ONLY call people you know who can truly benefit from your advice or service. With this approach, your follow up call will reflect your professional duty of care, ensuring any sense you might have of imposing will be eliminated.
- Try not to bite off more than you can chew. Consider identifying five existing clients each quarter and calling them. Would that be reasonable? You may find you can make more calls, maybe less – just give it a try.
- Be up front when you call and say something along the lines of…
“I’m calling you today because I want to make you aware of … changes to legislation / a service we offer / other … that achieves the XYZ outcomes you need.”
- That initial call will dictate how you can proceed:
a) No interest, take no further action;
b) Some interest, make a note and call again next quarter (or earlier); or
c) Strong interest, explain the ‘easy’ next step. This would typically include formalising an appointment to meet (in person or on a video call).
If each of your business partners and/or key managers were to take the same approach, it could make a significant difference to your business.
If three business partners make five follow up calls over four quarters, it will quickly add up to 60 follow-up calls each year. Even modest success of say 1 in 5 follow up calls could add worthwhile new (and for some professionals, recurring) revenue.
Give it a try and let us know how you go. You may be surprised at how many of your clients appreciate your proactive approach to helping them achieve better outcomes.
Click here to read about our client who made the most of his marketing investment and significantly grew his business, simply by following up.