As a business owner who is looking to make sales, your focus is probably on spreading the word across the market and once that’s done, you expect that potential clients should troop in. But that is not often the case. No matter how many people you attract in the first place, they don’t become your clients immediately.
Gone are the days where people whip out their cards to buy just because they came across your ad. Probably just 3% of your potential clients would do that. What about the remaining 97%?
How do you move them further along their purchase journey? FOLLOW UP!
Failure to follow-up on your prospects translates to leaving a lot of money on the table.
On a standard scale, you need an average of seven touch points when a prospect reaches out before they buy from you. It takes seven “touches” before someone acts upon your call-to-action. The touchpoints can take any form:
- A physical event
- Seeing an ad
- Seeing your content on social media
- Receiving your email newsletter
- A free discovery call
- A word-of-mouth mention by a friend
- Visiting your website
However, how do you establish an average of seven touch points with someone who has reached out to you without coming across as pushy?
This has so much to do with your mindset about follow up. Many business owners feel like the purpose of follow up is to get a prospect to buy immediately. This puts a lot of pressure on you to sell. The actual purpose of follow up is to ensure that you stay top of your client’s mind. Not everyone will end up buying from you and even those who want to buy may not be ready on your time, so as long as you’re always generating leads, you are at a good place.
Know what your average sales cycle is(sales goals blog link). If it takes three weeks on average for a stranger that has reached out for the first time to make a purchase, you won’t have to push to close that sale within a day or two. You just have to keep doing what you need to in terms of follow-up and give it those three weeks, this person will surely make a purchase.
A common misconception most entrepreneurs have about follow up is that they think they must reach out manually to every single person they meet. You burn out from the entire process and sometimes, come across as pushy to the prospect.
This rigorous process is enough to discourage people however, not receiving a response after follow up can rub off wrongly on you as well. While there may be a lot of reasons behind this, one of the key issues is the fact that business owners do not follow up effectively.
Importance Of Following Up On Potential Clients
- Your clients stick around: Follow up gives them the impression that you care about them and are available for them. This is why they are most likely to stick to your business for a longer period of time as you are seen to always be available for them.
- It makes clients feel special: The attention that comes with being treated like a special individual is one that can be built through follow up. When you ask for feedback, it makes them feel valued and this definitely increases the reliability process for clients.
- It takes you steps ahead in your marketing: Follow up is part of customer service. 96% of the customers agree that customer service is a parameter to determine their choice of brand and also their loyalty towards it. Your customers undoubtedly talk about you with others and refer you.
- Regular follow-up helps you engage effectively with your client-base and know them better: Follow-ups can be a great source to ask customers what they want/expect next. As you engage with them, you get to understand them better and you can tailor your offers to suit their needs.
How to follow up with potential clients effectively
When you think about your prospect as a real human being with needs, you realize that following up on them is like helping them get the solution to a painpoint they have communicated in some way or the other. This makes your approach, value based because you’re coming at them with valuable content. It takes the pressure off you because you’re giving, not asking. The question now is, How do you deliver ‘valuable content’? EMAIL MARKETING!
If this sounds new or even cliche to you, it means you haven’t mastered the approach to make it work for your business! Here’s how to build a follow up system using email marketing:
- Engage your prospects
You don’t have to rush for the sale. A simple call-to-action telling them to join your newsletter or follow you on social media goes a long way. You want to come across as down to earth so they can find you relatable.
Ask them questions that make them genuinely interested in you e.g What is the biggest pain point for you right now?
Retargeting ads is a great way to find strangers who land on your website but bounce off the page, sending your ad to them on social media for instance increases your chances with them – they have come across you in the past, so you’re no longer a random stranger.
Your prospects choosing to engage with you means that they find you useful beyond the services you offer, so make it easy for them. A simple newsletter pop-up form or sharing a lead magnet is enough.
- Share your story
When people get to know where you’re coming from, why you are passionate about what you do and your reason for trying to serve them, it is a booster.
Telling your story – with all its challenges, mistakes, failures, pain, setbacks as well as its joys, successes and victories – shows what it means to be human. Beyond selling, it can even inspire others to take certain steps that will affect them positively.
Our stories are powerful because they evoke a sense of togetherness even among strangers. Talk to your audience like your friend and see them warm up to you.
Share testimonials too. You need to show them how you’ve been able to help others, it shows clearly that you’re not a fraud and it definitely builds trust.
- Agitate the problem
This may sound aggressive at first but sometimes, you need to remind people about the reason why they reached out to you in the first place. They need to remember that they have an actual painpoint and they really need your help solving it. You want to keep reiterating it but not so much that you begin to sound desperate.
- Deliver value
I understand that the transformation you provide is your value but you can also deliver quick wins to your prospects.
Lead magnets and freebies are often seen as baits to attract prospects but even after attracting them, you need to keep the relationship alive so keep sending those checklists, webinars, live sessions, etc. their way.
For instance; as a photographer, valuable content can involve sharing a checklist on how to prepare for your photo shoot, sharing tips on how to be less camera-shy etc.
However, you must understand that value is relative and you need to figure out what value means to your ideal client so, find your ideal client first and work based on their preferences.
- Paint their desired destination to them.
Telling your prospects where they could be three months from now is a perfect example here. Depending on the kind of program you offer, paint that desired destination they want so it really comes alive to them.
This creates a bit of FOMO – fear of missing out in their minds and communicates the need to solve these problems immediately.
By painting their desired destination to them, you want to clear all doubts in the mind of the client. Bust all objections they might have and make sure to answer their questions. If they have none, set up a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) tab that addresses the most common questions they may have about your services and offers. The best way to identify them is to look into your client record and see the problems that customers are constantly reaching out to you with. Some of the questions to include are; How long does your program last for?, What is your refund policy?, etc.
This might seem like a lot to do repeatedly hence, the reason you need to figure out a way to automate this and one sure-fire way is Email Marketing(blog link).
It is easy to feel like a scam when you follow up because all of this effort ties into getting money into your pockets. Understand that your solution is meaningful and the value you’re giving them is not to hound them but to help them. It’s a win-win for both parties because you get value in exchange too!
Following this process should change your mindset to follow up and strengthen your experience with closing sales and moving people from just reaching out to paying for your services.