The Follow Up Factor

Following up on people is second nature to many successful in sales. Most successful salespeople understand the importance of keeping in touch with past and present clients in hopes of generating leads or referrals that one day become sales.

It’s marketing-101. However, in our culture of “immediate gratification,” follow up is easily overlooked as something that takes too long, or worse, something that does not produce results quickly enough. This can be detrimental.

Recently, I’ve witnessed how this can affect decisions in several ways.

My husband and I recently purchased a car. We were good customers with the ability to buy, needed a car quickly and had a good idea what we were looking for. As we visited dealers, just one got contact information. We were amazed how few people got our names or numbers. How can you possibly follow up if you don’t have any way to contact your potential buyer? We bought the car from the only one who followed up.

After moving in June, we began the search for a church home. This was a very important decision for our family, as we were hoping to connect to a new church family in our new environment. Even though churches are not a typical business, to be successful in its mission, churches like any organization need to grow as well as retain its members. After a few weeks of visiting, we decided on a church where the primary point of contact was a person who did not acknowledge or return my emails. We changed our minds, ending up in a much smaller community where contact was much easier and immediately reciprocated.

In November, I became a licensed realtor and went to my initial sales meeting with my new company last week. After a time of listening to how many of the agents were starting off the year with increased business, it was apparent the time was well invested for those who spent time following up on past clients. In each case they ended up with measurable success. At the very least, they reconnected with a previous customer, which is essential to building any business and getting referrals.

As harsh as it may seem, no matter how good of a job we do we are replaceable. Following up produces business and stronger relationships, but it also creates loyalty. If you keep in touch with others, you let them know they matter to you; that you thought of them. That is powerful.

Often we can be flippant in conversation. “I’ll call you, let’s get together, let’s keep in touch.” Those are not statements, they are commitments. You build a network of people who matter to you and you matter to them. Don’t say you’ll keep in touch and then don’t. You lose credibility and depth of relationship.

How important is the Follow Up Factor? It can cost business, it can earn business and it can lead to loyalty. Factor those into your bottom-line.

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