I read a blog written by my social media consultant Jon Dupree of Calibrate Marketing. We had both attended a wonderful seminar hosted by theBrookfield Chamber of Commerce on this topic. I tend to get really busy and leave some of the "low hanging fruit" on the tree. Once you spend the time and money to get the prospect it is imperative that you have systems in place to make sure that they eventually do business with you. The panel, consisting of Susan Merlo of Next Level iMedia, Tara Alemany of Aleweb Social and Rick Schwarts of The Sales Addict spoke about how we loose opportunities by not having systems in place for follow up processes before, during and especially after the sale.
1- Not Following Up With a Prospect: The Prospect my not be ready to buy or to take advantage of your services at that moment of initial contact but there was a reason that they contacted you. When they are ready to step off the ledge will they have remembered you and be able to find you? Once someone approaches you or shows an interest in your product or service what do you do next? With a bit of personal tweaking it should be the same each and every time. Take some time and formalize the steps you take for the 2-6 different ways you meet people. You should have a technique for Internet leads: open house leads: referrals: people you meet at networking events; etc. Mine basically consists of; a handwritten thank you note, putting them into my database for monthly newsletters; putting them on a drip email campaign; signing them up for a Listing Book Account (offered through our MLS), adding them to my mass email list for monthly informational eblasts and putting into Outlook. In Outlook I schedule a NEXT STEP. It is an appointment. That "Next Step" could be a phone call, a lunch or coffee, a peice of information etc. Without it being on my Outlook it tends not to happen.
2- Approaching the Prospect with the Wrong Mindset: Instead of the thought "When or what can I sell them" the mindset should "How Can I HELP Them". The prospect will not do business with you if you have not made them feel that you CARE about them. Friend them on Facebook, set up a meeting with someone who can help them in some way, send them an article or book, remember their interests, hobbies, family. Become a trusted advisor and resource for your Prospect.
3- Not Keepong in Touch AFTER the Sale:At McCaffrey Realty we have an informal system called 1-7-30-6-12. How many of you have gotten a call from a service person the day AFTER the service to see if everything went well? When that happens I become a RAVING FAN and your clients will too. Call the day after the transaction, a week after, a month after, 6 months, and on the anniversary. This is how you not only get repeat business but also those extremely important referrals. Put the dates into your Outlook as appointments.
4- Mis-Judging the Prospect:Some people believe that you follow up with a prospect until they DIE. It is the old fashioned ABC (always Be Closing) mentality. Prospecting is the sowing of seeds that you later harvest as closed sales. Periodically you need to tend your gardens and pull out the weeds. You need to determine the BANT of the Prospect. (Budget, Authority, Need, Time Frame). If the prospect does not have the money, the authority to make the decision, have a need for your solution or a defined time frame, then they a C prospects and should not take time away from your A prospects. We have a saying "Stop Watering Deed Plants." Tend to you garden (your Prospects) and re-categorize the dead leads.
5- Using only one methed of communication. You should have a half a dozen methods to communicate to your prospects. Absolutely pick up the telephone. We are getting lazy with emails and social media. We are not using the phone as we should. Also use print newsletters, emails, blogs, networking groups, client appreciation events, postcards, sponsorships. You need to be visible and be there when the prospect is ready. You need to MARKET to your prospect but also NETWORK with you Prospect. The Networking piece is the piece that lets them know that you care and cements the relationship.
It comes down to CARING and being VISIBLE. Multiple touches, questioning, being a resource will be the catalysts to being the company, person or service chosen when the prospect is ready to commit.