How many times have you been to a 4Networking meeting, collected a list of people who might be interested in your products and services, and then done nothing with it? How many potential sales have been thrown away, all for the effort of sending a quick email, text or voice message?
“I did some following up like we talked about and I messaged some of the recent Bumper and Friends customers. Within about half an hour I’ve had 8 replies, some lovely feedback about the books and some sales! Following up works! ” – Jenny Leggott Author
This is where following up after meetings is essential. You have a second chance to chat with people and find the common ground to build future friendships and working relationships. In 4Networking, this is called “Meet, Like, Know, Trust” and describes the foundations for doing business together.
How to build mutual trust.
When you reach a stage of mutual trust, you’ll find the sales start coming in. You’ll also find people are willing to recommend you to their friends, colleagues and customers. Having a personal recommendation is perhaps one of the best ways to reach new customers.
To build long-lasting, solid, mutual trust takes time and patience. It’s about asking questions and listening to the answers. It’s a fact-finding mission. What do they like? Do you have shared interests? Are there areas where you disagree? Even our differences can build trust. Being honest is vital for building trust.
Have a think about some questions you can ask. These may or may not relate to your business, or theirs, the questions could be about soap operas, football teams, family, cars or holidays. Every question you ask builds a better picture of the person you’re chatting with. It provides the stepping stones for moving the conversation towards business goals.
Some of the common questions I’m asked are “how many times should I follow up” and “what if they think it’s annoying getting all my messages” – these can vary from person to person and from business to business.
How many times should I follow up?
It’s possible you may sell your product or service on the first contact with someone. If you’re selling exactly what they want, at exactly the right price, exactly when they need it, that’s great, but often it can take more than one follow-up.
Top Tip: It’s always worth following up after the sale to check everything went well. It’s your opportunity to ask if they want more or if they can think of anyone else who would like the same product or service.
There are various formulas and statistics saying 80% of sales need 5 or more follow-ups, although these figures are open for interpretation. The key message is that follow-ups work. You’ll also find people will respond to different types of follow-ups. Some people prefer phone calls, others prefer emails, texts, or messages via Facebook or LinkedIn.
For increased success, try varying the time of day, or the day of the week. You never know what they may be in the middle of doing when your call or message arrives.
What if they think it’s annoying?
A good gauge of this is to judge whether you would find it annoying. If you have emailed, texted, phoned and left a voice message, that’s quite a lot for someone to read and process all at once, especially if the content is similar or identical.
Try to stagger your communications at a reasonable interval. You can see if someone has opened a message sent via LinkedIn, Facebook, WhatsApp or email. Give them time to read and digest your message.
Top Tip: If someone has found your correspondence annoying, they may tell you, or they may ignore you. Use your judgement and always respect anyone who asks not to be contacted again.
If you would like any advice on how to follow up from 4Networking meetings, or how to organise your contact list, prioritising sales leads or automating responses, please get in touch. These are key topics I help clients with, and it all starts with a small conversation.
I offer a free 15 minute consultation for small business owners to explore how to bring in more sales. This can be followed up with a Focus Guru Power Hour to implement positive processes to maximise sales from your list of people collected at 4Networking meetings. Let’s get started! Please book your 15 minute consultation today.
Rachael Chiverton, Focus Guru – Giving You Your Time, Your Way