I can’t tell you how many times a client has told me, “I’m attending so many networking groups; I must go to three or four things a week”. “Wow”, I say, “You must have quite a few prospects in your pipeline”. “No”, they reply, “Because I’m just not very good on following up with people that I meet. I have several stacks of business cards on my desk that I just haven’t had a chance to get to”.
Hmmm-and you’re here to see me, because you’d like more clients? Interesting, and a VERY common situation amongst entrepreneurs. Here are three lessons I’ve learned along the way about the importance in your business of following up and keeping a full pipeline of prospects:
Lesson #1-The money’s in the follow-up so it’s imperative you actually follow up with the contacts you make at a networking meeting or event. And that means following up quickly-before the trail goes cold!
When you get home from a networking event, make it a discipline to sort through the business cards you’ve collected and figure out which people you really want to develop a relationship with. Connect with them on LinkedIn, or Facebook, AND send them an email message about hooking up for lunch or a coffee date in the next couple of weeks. The longer you wait to do this, the harder it will be to connect with folks-so do it the night you get home, or no later than the next morning.
Lesson #2-I’m often asked if you don’t hear back from someone you’ve tried to follow up with-how many times should you try connecting with them? Here’s what I’ve found to be true-I continue to try and connect with them until they tell me point blank, “Stop calling”.
Want to know how many times that’s happened? Zero. What I usually hear from prospects is something like this, “I just love how persistent you have been in getting together-I love that”. Or, “Ugh-I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long to respond to your emails-thanks so much for being persistent-things have just been incredibly crazy!”
Now, I’m not saying contact them everyday, but maybe once a week, alternating between phone calls and emails. And keep it very open, “just wondering if you might have some time in your schedule the next few weeks to grab a cup of coffee”. Or,” Just thought I’d check in with you again to see if your schedule has let up some to schedule lunch or coffee the next couple of weeks?”
Be pleasantly and appropriately persistent.
Lesson #3-You need to have a system for managing all the prospects you are working in your pipeline. This can be as crude as using a cardboard box with dividers for all the days in the month (numbers 1-31) and a divider for each of the twelve months. Then stapling a prospect’s business card to an index card, writing everything you’ve learned about the prospect on the index card, including when you’ve contacted them and what they’ve said. If they say, call back in three months, you pop that card behind the divider three months from now. Everyday, pull the cards behind the divider for the day and make he calls.
I’ve used this system for years and it’s worked extremely well for me to keep track of my prospects. Obviously, there are on-line customer relationship management systems (CRM systems) you can invest in that do the same thing, but I must say, my little cheap box has served me well!
The point is, you need to keep track of prospects. People often say to me, “how do you fill your teleclasses, or workshops or Mastermind groups?”
For the sole reason that I keep track of prospects, follow up, cultivate relationships with them and nurture them. I’ve had people follow me for years before they bought something from me, but the point is, I’ve stayed in contact with them.
Remember the money’s in the follow-up!
If you are interested in learning more about how to follow-up with prospects, what to specifically say at networking events to get clients to sign up with you on the spot, or how to get more referrals from friends and family, or you would just like to change the way you look at the “dreaded sales call”, then I hope you’ll consider joining me for my ever-popular, 4 week teleclass, “How to Overcome Your Fear of Sales and Get More Clients-NOW!” Click here for all the information.
|Mandy works with talented, high energy self employed professionals and very small businesses who struggle to market their business effectively, stretch their capacity and play a bigger game. Mandy’s client’s receive proven, specific information on what they need to do to get more clients and grow their business. As a result, those who coach with Mandy increase their business, get more clients and make more money, faster and easier than they ever would have on their own. Sign up for her free Cd “7 Productivity Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurs” right down below.