Business Planning Coaching: Following Up Means More Sales
Do you follow up with potential clients? If not, you are leaving sales on the table.
Below are sales statistics widely distributed on the internet from multiple sources, with some cautionary notes. According to SMEI’s 2021 blog, Sales Statistics – How many calls to close a sale?, the sales stats below were originally sited by National Sales Executives Association, which was renamed Sales & Marketing Executives, International. The original survey was done in 1942 from a sample size of 40. Ouch.
That being said, these statistics ring true to me from all my work with small businesses as clients, as referral partners and in networking. So, let’s start with the often-quoted statistics:
- 2% of sales made on the 1st contact
- 3% of sales made on the 2nd contact
- 5% of sales made on the 3rd contact
- 10% of sales made on the 4th contact
- 80% sales made on the 5th to 12th contact
Now look at our actions:
- 44% of salespeople give up after just 1 attempt (correlates to 2% sales)
- 8% of salespeople follow up more than 5 times (correlates to 80% sales)
What I do know is that if you are not following up you are leaving dollars on the table and potential clients you can help solve a problem without a solution, look for the paystub generator features.
How to Follow Up with Potential Clients
First, your goal here is to build a relationship. Never forget that! While this blog focuses on potential clients, the same follow-up principles hold true for referral partners or folks you just find interesting and want to get to know better. Build a relationship. Here are just a few ways to follow up with your potential clients (and others!):
- Social Media (you know, actually interact with them on social media platforms!!)
- Blog updates
- Mail them a card or letter
But What Do You Say to Them?
Again, there are multiple avenues here! Have some fun. Here are a few easy ones:
- Thank them for taking the time to meet with you (the quicker you do this, the better; 1 hour is optimal, but definitely within 48 hours)
- Connect them with someone in your network you think they should know
- Make a referral
- Send them your electronic brochure (your one-pager)
- Send a link to an event or article you think will be of interest to them
- Tag them on a social media post (don’t overdo it here!)
- Notify them of upcoming offers, events, sales or promotions
- Notify them of impending deadlines
- Thank them for actions they take benefiting you as your relationship builds
- Depending upon where you are in your sales cycle, check in to see if they are ready to make a decision or if they need more information
- Check in to see if they are satisfied with XYZ – whatever “XYZ” is in your case!
No matter what statistics you rely upon, sales are lost if you don’t follow up. It’s also, frankly, just common sense.
When I was the head of a nonprofit, I had too little staff and a To Do List that was way too long. A potential volunteer would make my day when they emailed me saying, “I am not sure if you remember, but I volunteered to do XYZ for your organization.” What they had volunteered to do for us was important, and it would not have happened as quickly if they had not followed up. All I had to do at that point was forward it to my wonderful Office Manager and she would “Make It So.” When we would talk again, they would often say, “I didn’t want to bother you….” I would assure them they had not bothered me, that had in fact helped me tremendously by following up.
Following up is critical. It is one of the tasks we work on in our MEG POWER HOURS. MEG is our small business owner membership group. Members meet for an hour each week to work on, not just in, their businesses. We work together to help each other grow and we make it fun!
Following up is also part of our business planning coaching services beyond MEG, whether it’s a 1-1 coaching session or a small business assessment. You might want to consider providing effective coaching lessons and refresher training for your supervisors. You may visit the Challenger webpage for more information about these coaching lessons.