Most business owners are good at pitching clients or reaching out to new customers. It’s the follow-up where they fall down. Why? Because they figure, “if they wanted my product, they’d finish the transaction,” or they worry that, “if I bug them too much, I’ll come off as needy.” Here’s the thing: while you’re worrying about bugging a prospective customer or telling yourself that maybe “they’re just not that into me,” someone else is following up and sealing the deal!
“No” is just a little bump on the road to “yes.”
When someone expresses interest in your business, but they aren’t quite ready to sign on the dotted line, they can often be persuaded with a polite follow up. Say you were trying to convince a local business to purchase advertising on your website. They might say, “this sounds like a good opportunity, but I’ve already used up my marketing dollars for this quarter.” By following up before the beginning of the next quarter, you could get on your contacts’ radar and get her business while she’s in the planning stages.
Here are some other follow-up methods to consider:
Ask if they’d like to be added to your ezine. Creating an email newsletter is a great way to keep in contact with prospects and update them on new promotions or offerings. Since nobody likes getting spam, ask their permission first and include useful content in your ezine so it’s not a pure sales message. Once people expect timely and insightful information from you, they’ll become more likely to open your emails and conduct business with you.
Send useful links. If you know the prospect pretty well, you could email her sporadically when you find articles that might be useful for her business or see networking events she might like to attend. That way you’re keeping the lines of communication open without pressuring her.
Send a holiday card. The holidays are a great time to reconnect with prospects and spread seasonal cheer. But if you’re afraid your holiday card might get lost in the shuffle or you simply don’t have time to coordinate another mailing, then consider sending a card at other times of the year, perhaps a mid-summer greeting or a Labor Day card (as people return from vacation, this can be a good time to snag new business). That way you’ll become more memorable and have an excuse to connect with people outside of the regular holiday season.
Hold an event. Consider hosting a symposium on a timely topic or a free seminar on an issue that will interest potential customers. Invite prospects who were on the fence and use the opportunity to also bring in new prospects.
Follow up is key in any business, but you can also be creative and have a little fun with your strategies. The bottom line? Be persistent, but always be polite.© Copyright 2010 Ali Brown