People who do business seriously stand out from those who are ‘playing’ business, by following up and following through. According to Sandra Yancey, founder of the largest women’s network in North America, only 5% of people actually follow up when they say they will, 95% don’t. If you want a competitive advantage, follow up and you’ll stand out from the pack.
Here are a few more statistics that will really get you thinking, learned from sales guru Colin Sparke. (If you don’t read all of these stats, at least read the very last one in bold!):
48% of salespeople never follow up with a prospect
25% of salespeople make a second contact and stop
12% of salespeople only make a third contact and stop
ONLY 10% of salespeople make more than three contacts
2% of sales are made on the first contact
3% of sales are made on the second contact
5% of sales are made on the third contact
10% of sales are made on the fourth contact
80% of sales are made on the fifth through twelfth contact!
The above statistics tell you just how important follow up is to the bottom line of your business. The reality is that you can go out and do all the networking you want, attend all the business meetings and collect as many business cards as you can, but without effective follow up you are just wasting your time, energy and money.
What I’m curious about is the why? Why don’t people follow up if the statistics tell us that we are leaving money on the table when we don’t do it? I think a lot of it comes down to mindset. We convince ourselves of many things, most of which are untrue. Some excuses I’ve used myself include things like:
√ I don’t want to be bothersome or seem like I’m stalking them
√ I don’t know what to say
√ They won’t remember me
√ I’ve already emailed them, they didn’t reply = they must not be interested
Here are some ideas for turning the task of follow up into an authentic extension of who you already are, from a foreign concept that “doesn’t apply to me”.
- Be curious. Genuinely take an interest in other people and learn about them. This will allow you to bring the human element of building a relationship into the initial conversation and all future follow-ups.
- Listen. Ask more questions about them, and do less talking about you. You will glean a lot of information that you can weave into your follow up conversations.
- Be persistent, yet tactful. The used car salesman approach to business is no longer. In this day and age it’s more about developing a relationship with people so they get to know you, like you and trust you. This takes time and tact.
- Be solution-driven. Remember you are the provider of solutions, and if you genuinely believe that your product or service is a good fit for your prospect, then be authentic about getting that across.
- Take action. Just do it.
Your fortune and your future are in your follow up.
Do you have any follow up success stories to share? I’d love to hear about how you are using follow ups in your business development efforts. Please share in the comments below.
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