ENTREPRENEURSHIP / AUG. 21, 2014
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How to Follow-Up With Business Prospectives

Once you have potential business prospects, it is vital that you follow-up. In order to be successful, following-up with clients is essential. Situations differ as well as methods. However, you should try and follow-up after a couple of days.

Whether you’re in sales or you’re making business connections, following-up means more money. This may be more money in terms of commission or more money to put back into your business.

How to Effectively Follow-Up With Business Prospective

1. Keep Your Leads in a Safe Place

Whether you have collected business cards or contact information, keep everything in one, secure location. If you have physical pieces of information such as business cards or pamphlets, keep them in an envelope or folder that is tucked away safe.

In order to keep track of various clients and connections, it’s great to fill out an Excel spreadsheet. You can create a file that contains all the information you need to follow-up; business name, contact’s name, phone number, address, and notes regarding your conversation.

It’s a great idea to colour coat your information. Highlight various clients and colour coat your next move. For example, purple may mean the contact was not in and you should try back later that day, green may mean the client has requested more information via email, and orange may mean that a meeting needs to be set-up. It doesn’t matter what colours your choose, as long as it’s a system that works for you.

2. Pay Attention to Small Details

If you met your client in person, make sure you remember their face. If you spoke to them over the phone, make sure you write down their name and any details regarding your conversation. It’s always a pleasant surprise when people remember your name the next time you contact one another.

If the client mentioned they were sick, ask them how they’re feeling the next time you speak. This small attention to detail sets you apart for the rest of the crowd. Your product or service may be better than others, but you need to convince them of that. The best way to get people to listen, is make a personal connection. Details are so important, so make sure you pay attention.

3. Follow-Up Within 24 to 48 hours After Initial Contact

Unless a client stated otherwise, follow-up within a day or two. This doesn’t need to be pushy, just simply check-in. You can either give your client a quick call or send them a brief email. Tell the potential client or connection that you enjoyed your initial conversation.

Perhaps you met them outside of work (e.g. your sons football game). Remind them of your conversation and simply let them know that you would like to follow-up regarding your conversation.

If they’re willing to talk, offer your services and go over your ideas to help them. You want to make the potential client interested in what you have to say. If there are any promotions or offers going on, this would be the time to tell them.

Provide your contact information, so that they can get in touch with you if they have any questions or concerns. You’ll need to adapt to what they say. They may request more information, which will then be your next step. If they say they need to think about it, ask them when would be a good time to contact them again. Don’t be overly pushy, but make sure you close the conversation knowing how to proceed. Once again, make it more personal and in this instance, tell them you look forward to seeing them at the next football game.

4. Leave a Message

If you can not reach your prospective client, leave a brief message. This message should be enthusiastic and confident. Just briefly tell them why you’re calling and that you’ll call back later. Wish them well and then make a note that you need to call them back.

If you have left a message with other clients, try contacting them again. If you had a conversation previously, make sure to stay in touch. A successful sale dramatically decreases after 72 hours, so make sure you stay on top of callbacks.

5. Make an Appointment

If people do not get back to you when they say they will, it’s not the end of the world. Within our busy lives, it’s easy to forget. Contact your potential client, setting up an appointment. If a client is very busy, simply ask when would be the best time to speak to them. If you schedule in a specific time, you will receive more of their attention.

Following-up is not only necessary, but is a vital skill in terms of success. You need to know how and when to approach your potential clients and business prospective. If you master this process, you will be much more successful. Just remember, don’t be too pushy, get the right information across, and be personable. Don’t let leads run cold, as you increase the risk of losing that sale or connection. Stay organized and confident, creating a foolproof system that works for you and your current strategies and goals. 

Photo credit: danielfoster437

 

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