THE FOLLOW UP | CREATIVE KNOWLEDGE BROKER NINJA TIP
So why is it important to keep following up?
Now, the follow up is something that we all need to embrace and understand. A lot of the things that we do in life get to a certain point, often halfway to achieving, then we give up. This can be trying to train for something, learning new things, or trying to do business and make sales.
I was talking to my son at the weekend, he’s playing for our local under eights football team, and I am one of the coaches. Since that the pandemic hit, they have hardly done any training, so we have started doing a bit more training together. We practise in the garden, and what I noticed was that he does all the attacking and running and uses all his energy between his goal and the opponent’s goal, but when he gets to the end, like all the boys do, he seems to get overwhelmed and just fluffs it. He kicks the ball indiscriminately somewhere it shouldn’t go, and it occurred to me that all the effort he spends to trying to get from one end to the other is wasted due to his loss of focus.
So, this made me think about following up and the sales cycle. When I am chasing up clients or trying to close a deal, I send a proposal, we check the client got the proposal, we ask if they want to do the job, and often the client will turn around and say “no, we’re not going forward with this”.
I am sure we all get disappointed with that and we kind of look and turn our heads and move onto a new client.
Now, if, in our business we were to keep doing that, it means we are always going to go back to zero and start again. However, if we continued to persevere with that client and adopt the analogy ‘no doesn’t mean never’ and carried on staying in contact with them, then by following up, there might be additional opportunities that come up, additional projects that come along, additional invitations to come and speak in front of a wider team.
And it’s the same with the football analogy, so I said to my son that he needs to stop spending all his time and effort getting from his end of the pitch to the opponents end, because if he loses focus and gets overwhelmed, when he reaches the other end and doesn’t take a strategic action, like trying to focus when he is going to shoot at the goal in order to beat the keeper, then he is going to have to go back to the start and go through all that effort again. Hence the importance of understanding the follow up.
It is critical in everything we do, because a large proportion of people give up at that Big Dipper. For example, in the sales cycle we might have to make 50 calls to win a deal, but we might only get to 25 and think that’s enough. As a result, the deal doesn’t come off and we end up being disheartened. However, it doesn’t mean that the people you have contacted are never going to buy from you, it just means now is not the right time for them.
If you don’t have a follow up process in place then there is no better time than the present to start implementing one. Start by collating all your lost opportunities in one place, in a spreadsheet or in your CRM and rank them according to how close you got to winning the opportunity and how well you got on with them, for example hot, warm and cold. Now you can schedule when and how you will follow up with these potential clients. The hot ones you may call once a fortnight, the warm ones you may send a personalised email once a month, and the cold ones you may include on your newsletter mailout. Give it a try!