“Without action, the best intentions in the world are nothing more than that: intentions.” For fans of the blockbuster The Wolf of Wall Street, you might remember Jordan Belfort saying this during his meteoric rise in fortune. While Belfort eventually turned to criminality (and we’re definitely not suggesting you go that far) he does raise a good point. Why waste your time prepping for a client, meeting with them, building a rapport and answering their questions if you don’t close the deal afterward?
Follow-ups are important and arguably one of the easiest steps in the communication process with customers. A quick email or call to check in and make sure everything is okay or if there are any more questions/concerns could be the difference between achieving growth and losing it. Let’s take a look at some steps you can take to make your follow-ups effective.
Why you need to follow up
Anyone working in sales can tell you, one of the most important things you can do is stay in touch with your clients. Following up with them is a great way to build strong relationships, improve communication - whether that’s in person or meeting virtually - and ultimately reach an agreement. You may think this is only for clients but it also applies to investors, stakeholders and, if you’re a manager, your team.
Let's start with improving communication. When you take the time to follow up with your clients, you're showing them they matter and you’re committed to understanding their needs. You should respond quickly to questions and always offer to get answers when you don’t know them yourself. Doing this means not only do you get a better understanding of what they need from you, but are able to take that knowledge into meetings with similar businesses. This should lead to more successful outcomes. Additionally, by proactively addressing any issues or concerns, you're showing you're responsive and dedicated to meeting their needs - not just chasing their money.
But the benefits don't stop there. Following up can also have a direct impact on your bottom line. It's no secret that building strong relationships creates client loyalty. When your clients trust you and feel valued, they'll come back to you time and again. They’ll also be far more likely to recommend you to others and that is often worth more than the thousands of dollars you spend on advertising.
As a manager, this also applies to your team. Following up after meetings to make sure action items are being completed and there are no blockers ensures your team feels listened to and should lead to greater job satisfaction. It’s also good to try and get the whole team together at points to celebrate success. Our poll creator makes it easy to do this.
Tips to effectively follow up
Now we've established the importance of following up, let’s make sure you’re doing it effectively. As a business leader or entrepreneur, it's important to have a clear strategy in place for you and your team to follow up with clients. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Set up a schedule. Create a plan for deciding when and how often you're going to reach out to your clients. Whether it's daily, weekly or monthly, it's important to be consistent and make sure your team is too. This will help everyone effectively plan their schedules by knowing exactly who they are speaking to and when - moving them through the pipeline as needed.
Be personal and authentic. You’ve likely received one if not hundreds of messages from companies where the message couldn’t be more generic. Great follow-ups are the ones that get to know the client on a deeper level.
That doesn’t mean the process can’t be automated to some extent, but listen to what they say in your initial meeting and tailor the response to suit. Often, this could be as simple as using their name or saying it was great to meet them on a particular day. Both of these can easily be automated and still come across as personal. Being authentic will show your clients you care and build a better relationship as a result.
Be flexible and responsive. The pitch you use for one person isn’t necessarily going to work for others. Be willing to adapt your approach to meet the needs and expectations of your clients.
Sometimes, you may need to respond quickly to an urgent request or change your follow-up schedule because your client is considering other offers. This may sound contradictory to our advice about setting up a schedule, but that’s okay. Adjusting to what your client needs and being responsive shows that you're dedicated to doing what you can for them and staying one step ahead of your competition as well as any issues or concerns that may arise. You’ll find more often than not this will be the exception, not the rule. Booking Page is a great way to own the process by letting people reconnect with you quickly, but only when it suits you.
Follow-ups should be a core part of any process that requires review. Arguably one of the easiest steps, checking in via a quick message or call could be all that’s standing in the way of you achieving great results.