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It’s All About Follow Up

Why proper follow-up helps convert more Enquiries into Sales

There are many ways to Follow-up an Enquiry

We all want more sales for our business, right?

Let me tell you a story about a typical consumer…
I’m a boat owner - a 35 foot sailing boat called Poohstix – and I always have a number of boat related projects or ideas on the go.

Some of these are immediate maintenance-type projects – like repairing a temperamental fridge or servicing a squeaky winch.

Some are necessary but non-urgent requirements – right now, we’re considering a new sail for the boat.

I’m also investigating projects for the future – like solar panels or a wind generator to provide a free source of electricity afloat.

I always have to balance and prioritise what to buy now, and what to buy at some later date.

How do you choose where to spend your money?

Now, I love going to the Boat Show!
It lets me see what’s new on the market. I get help and ideas for my pet projects.

I get to dream!

At this year’s Boat Show, I talked to around 20 different companies about my plans for the boat.
I was amazed that only one asked me for any contact details.
And that company sent me one email with pricing for their product.
Nothing more…
By not following up, you are leaving it to chance whether I come back to make my purchase – or end up buying from someone else.

Turn more Enquiries into Sales

It’s calculated that it takes, on average, 12 separate contacts to turn an enquiry into a sale.
Not every enquiry is for an immediate purchase.
How many of your customers spend ages doing their research before finally making their purchase?
With careful and appropriate follow-up, you can gently guide them along the path from Idea to Implementation.
You may shorten the timescale. You’ll certainly ensure that you are top of your customers' minds when they come to buy.

There’s good and bad follow up…

Not all follow-up is helpful.
Let me illustrate.
We’ve recently started thinking about a new kitchen.
I mentioned this to the owners of a couple of kitchen installation companies I met at a business event.

One sent me 7 emails in two days – mostly about the price of his kitchens. He offered a discount voucher if I buy by the end of the month.

The other owner sent me an article about how to start planning my new kitchen.

He followed up again with the answers to some Frequently Asked Questions.
He’s invited me to come and see the appliances in action at his showroom – whenever I’m free to go.
Which of these do you think I am likely to talk to first?
And who’s email list have I ‘Unsubscribed’ from?

It’s not all over when you make the sale

As every good salesman knows, follow-up doesn’t end when you make the sale.
Ensuring delivery and implementation is just as important as getting the deal. No-one wants cancellations or refund requests, do we?

Even more than that, staying in touch with your existing customers is vital to encouraging repeat business.

The Ford Motor Company once estimated that it cost them 10 times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one.
Increasing repeat business can have a dramatic effect on your turnover.
So how can you increase the number of returning customers in your business?

Improve your Bottom Line

I’ve been working with a business that has over 10,000 customer email addresses stored in their systems.
They’ve built up over several years and nothing has ever been sent to them.
10,000 people!
Imagine if 1% of those were encouraged to make a repeat purchase every year.
How about 10%?

Simply staying in touch on a regular basis with relevant, interesting ideas and stories will encourage your customers to buy from you again - or refer friends with similar needs.

If you want to learn more about engaging your customers via email, you can read my article on the Power of Email here.

What should you do next?

There are many ways to follow up with your potential or existing clients.
Direct mail, online messaging, and email can be very effective in delivering follow-up information.
If you’re in the later stages of a sale, a telephone call might be the most appropriate approach.
Use several different methods to follow up. Your customers will each respond better to different channels.
Automate where possible.

Above all, follow up relentlessly.

The results will definitely show!
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