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- Selling: The Art of the Business Conversation By Jim Sullenger
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Selling: Winning Clients Through Prospect Follow Up
You never know how many follow up contacts it will take to win a customer. Most experts say that on average it takes between 5 and 12 contacts to winning clients. It is quite rare to engage a prospect during your initial meeting. The timing has to be right for them. Most prospects will want time to think over your services. Many will want to discuss their decision with their spouse. What do you do next to win them as a client?
Generally speaking several contacts are made prior to retaining a client. A business owner might expect to contact a prospect between six and twenty times and even more. Never give up unless the prospect asks you to stop calling. Sometimes months or even years may pass prior to your prospect becoming a client. Your prospect needs to know, like and trust you prior to giving serious consideration to buying your service or product.
You may ask, “How can I follow up with my prospects without “nagging” them?” The general answer is by serving your prospect and using a variety of ways to stay in touch. Think of creative ways to serve others. Below are some possibilities to keep your follow-ups interesting and helpful:
Add them to your newsletter. For example Small Business Coach Associates has a bi-monthly e-newsletter that includes helpful information for business owners. Links to helpful articles and services are included in the mailings.
Send them helpful information. If you paid attention during your meeting with your prospect you learned about their hobbies, family, interests, and business. Send articles or information that may be of interest or benefit to your prospect.
Stay in touch with them by phone. From time to time give your prospect a phone call. Be respectful of their time. Always ask your prospect at the beginning of your call “Is this a good time to talk?” If they say no simply say “OK, I just wanted to catch up with you. I’ll contact you at another time.” If they have time to talk with you, ask them how business is going, family, hobbies, etc. If you identify a need, such as prayer, or a visit, fill the need.
Stay in touch by sending note cards. Thank your prospect for meeting with you. In this e-savvy world with easy emails a hand-written note card will make you stand out from other sales people. Congratulate them if they have a great sales month. Send them a note on their anniversary. Find reasons to send your prospects notes.
Connect them with service providers. Be attentive to the needs of your prospect. If you find out they have a leaky faucet, go out of your way to help them find a plumber.
Connect with them on Linkedin. Make sure that your Linkedin page is updated with your experience, qualifications and links to your business prior to sending them an invitation.
Invite them to connect with you on Facebook or Twitter. Post helpful information to business owners on this social media. Your prospects will receive this information in their newsfeed.
Stop by to visit their business. Sometimes the best way to catch a business owner is to simply stop by their business. Face to face contact is always the best way to build a relationship. However be respectful of their time; make your visit short and sweet. Having a gift in hand such as donuts or some other food, or a book or article is a good idea.
Invite for your client for lunch, coffee, golf, seminars, etc. Find creative reasons to stay in touch with your prospect. The more ways you stay in touch with them, the more they will think of you when a need arises.
Reality is that not every prospect will become a client. Your prospect’s business may fail, your prospect may pass away, or your prospect may hire another business advisor. However if you are persistent and creative in your follow up contacts with your prospects, many of them will eventually become clients.
In summary, become your prospect’s friend. We have had prospects refer us to their friends who became clients before they did. As you demonstrate that you care about your prospect, they will come to know, like and trust you. Your persistence in being their friend will prove to them that you care, and eventually you will earn their goodwill.