Building a Consistant Follow-Up Plan
Where do you spend more time?
Where do you spend more time?
- On social media?
- Or talking with clients?
When I say talking with clients, I don’t mean in therapy sessions (if you’re a coach) or on Zoom calls when you’re providing other services.
We’re all pulled in countless directions every day. And I’ve found the biggest mistake people make in business is not following up.
This is especially true when it comes to our current clients. We’re leaving money on the table by not following up outside of the times when we’re directly providing services.
You may have heard it said that the cost of gaining a new client far exceeds the cost of generating more sales from a current client. But are you doing anything to capture those new sales?
Hold fast, because that’s what this month’s issue of Confident Marketing Every Day will help you with.
Deciding Who To Pay Attention To
Industry standards recommend we spend 30% of our working hours on marketing—and not just on any-old marketing to satisfy the 30% benchmark.
Experts further say that we should spend 50%-60% of those marketing hours on money-making activities.
In other words, let's do the math. If you’re working 40 hours a week, then 10 to 12 of those hours should be spent on marketing. And 4-5 of those 10-12 hours should be spent on marketing activities that make you money.
Are you meeting the standard? Your bank balance will tell you the truth!
By not following up with clients—a definite money-making activity—you leave money on the table. But if you DO follow up… if you keep in touch… you’re more likely to be top of mind and the first person they call when they need what you provide.
Set Your Course for Building a Consistent Follow-Up Plan
Look at the above speedometer. See where the needle is sitting? It’s solidly on Current Clients. Look how close that needle is to the Sales zone!
Now check out this image; it’s the same speedometer, this time with an X and Y axis to represent Time and Income.
That diagram illustrates how your income will grow when you spend more time on Current Clients and Hot Sales.
This is why, early in your journey with Confident Marketing Every Day, you’ll work on building follow-up habits to improve sales with your current clients and hot prospects.
Want to know more about the targets on the speedometer? Read on.
First are the dreaded Cold Calls, typically used by salespeople with lists of phone numbers and quotas. In today’s online world, cold calls might be you connecting with people you meet at online events, during webinars, or even a prospect you discover through online research. You have no prior knowledge of these people.
Next on the speedometer is Scattershot Social Media, which represents the scattershot approach most of us take until we start working smarter rather than harder. It’s posting marketing messages on your social profiles, or jumping in and out of multiple groups, posting the same offers for lead magnets or free discovery calls, either as new discussion threads or as comments in other people’s threads.
The real tragedy here is that when you jump in and out, posting and then signing off before any real engagement can happen, you’re wasting your precious energy. Without a well-formed plan, actions like those keep you busy—busy doing little to nothing, busy not making an impact. They also keep you feeling as if you’re spread too thin, which, of course, you are. And they keep your gifts and talents the best-kept secret on the web. Avoid this area of the speedometer!
Next, you begin to warm up - literally - with Warm Leads. Warm leads are people who’ve heard of you, perhaps a referral from a client or known contact. Warm leads can also be people you meet at an online event—someone who expresses an interest in your services. You don’t have a meeting planned yet, but the possibility is sitting out there, waiting.
Warm Leads are also people who book appointments with you. They might discover your booking link in one of your freebies, on your social media profile, in your blog or newsletter, or even in your email signature line.
Other possible Warm Leads are those who attend your live events, MeetUps, webinars, and Facebook Live sessions. They sign up for your free programs, so you know they have some interest in what you can provide. They may not know you, but you now have an opportunity to start building relationships. When you consistently follow up with warm leads, they feel good because you remembered them.
It will take longer to sell your services to these sources of potential clients. But sell them, you can! We’ll teach you how to build a system to reach and follow-up with your perfect prospects as you get deeper into your marketing journey. But that will come a little later. First, we want to get you operating well in the Orange and Red Zones.
Live Large in the Orange and Red Zones!
Continuing the Conversation - Greater Sales with Red Zone Follow-Ups
It’s time for action. Let’s get you focused on the right activities so you can
build the right habits and bring in more sales.
ACTION ITEM The first activity to complete is the Land of Follow-Up.
Your First Port of Sail
The most important asset in your business is your current clients. Your goal is to stay in touch with them, as well as with the rest of your contacts.
Read each rule in that document, and then rate yourself on how well you currently follow it. Give yourself a 5 if you excel in using the rule, and a 0 if it’s not even on your radar. Be honest. A rating of 0 is simply a starting point so you can chart your progress.
An example: For instance, Rule 1 is “Return all current client messages within 24 hours.” Read the rule.
Now rate yourself. Do you return all messages within 24 hours? If so, enter a 5 in the appropriate place in the table below. If not at all, enter a 0. If somewhere in between, enter where on the 0-5 you fall.
Using the rating table below, track your activities related to marketing for a week.
Download here "What is Your Follow Up Rate"
Did you have any 4 or 5 ratings? Congratulations!
Now - Commit! Right now, just mentally commit to following up.
The trick here is to make follow-up work a habit - part of your weekly can’t fail routine. The only way it will happen is if you COMMIT.
Continuing the Conversation - Greater Sales with Red Zone Follow-Ups
Your Stay-in-Touch Calendar
With your Rules set and rated, your next step is to create a plan for how and when you contact
your clients and prospects.
First, read through the following lists of the tasks my clients and I use often with great success. As you read, note the tasks you can start immediately. You won’t be able to do them all, and many will need to wait until you set up your system. I don’t want you to get distracted or overwhelmed thinking you have to create lots of expansive marketing programs and tools.
Read. Note what sounds easy and interesting.
That’s all you have to do for now.
Stay-in-Touch Calendar Tasks for All of Your Clients
Pick up the phone or cell phone. Using the phone has become a lost art. Want to really stand out and make a great impression? Call your best clients just to check in. See how they’re doing. If they’re on a service contract, check their satisfaction level. See if they need anything.
In your 👑 Sea Chest, you’ll find a story about a business owner who increased her sales with one simple phone call using my Sails Up! Script. I recommend you start there, with outreach to your clients. Even if you feel you’ve kept in touch with your clients, ask yourself: When’s the last time you spoke with them to say hello?
After you’ve called all your clients, set up a regular schedule for contacting them once or twice a year, depending on the service you provide. If your client list is long, call your top-level clients first.
Add a note to your invoice or auto-bill. When you give your clients a way to pay for your services, add a note to thank them for their trust in you, to share upcoming events, or to give some other, special touch that says, “I care, and I’m glad that you’re my client.” Your billing system might even provide a way for you to automate these messages. If you want your invoices to include time-sensitive messages, set a reminder so you’ll know to change them when they’re out of date.
Send a newsletter. If you don’t have an automated newsletter, send your clients a regular note. Depending on how many clients you have, personalize it at least with their name, and if a small list, add a note. Otherwise, commit to sending a newsletter at least once a month. Semi-monthly is better to keep you and your business top of mind.
Send seasonal, birthday and/or holiday cards. One of my clients sends a card wishing her clients Happy Anniversary each year, marking the first time they worked with her. To make it simple, she creates a card in VistaPrint, and uses that same card for all clients for one year. She creates a new card each year, and no client ever sees the same card. For her best clients, she also tucks a local restaurant gift card inside. You can create cards using services like VistaPrint and Canva.
All of these touches add up. I bet you’ll come up with some of your own. And if you do all of the things I recommend (depending on how you invoice), you’ll be touching each client 15 to 25 times a year. How could they possibly forget about you?!
Stay-in-Touch Calendar Tasks for First Sales
Naturally you want to create a memorable experience for clients signing up with you for the first time. As you look over this list of possible tasks, you might find yourself nodding and saying, “Of course!” But saying “of course!” and DOING these tasks is a different story. The important point is to systematize so you never forget.
Respond to initial contacts on the same day if during your work hours.
Under-promise and over-deliver. Get proposals to prospects a day earlier than you promised or better yet within 24 hours, 4 hours is best!
When you deliver a proposal, set a time to follow up on their decision. And make that call or visit on time.
After the sale, send a thank you email, text, or phone call, depending on how you communicate with clients.
After you deliver the service, again, depending on your business, send another thank you. If you’re delivering part of an ongoing service, attach a questionnaire asking about how satisfied they are with their experience.
If you provide large-ticket, substantial services, such as home improvement or VIP weekends, send a gift appropriate to the purchase. One of my peers told me how she signed up for a year-long experience with a financial services expert, and received a lovely candle to use during suggested “money dates.”
Ask for a testimonial when they’re thrilled with your service.
Add them to your touch calendar!
Additional Stay-in-Touch Calendar Tasks
Before we go on, remember: It’s vital to keep up with your #1 rule. Return all current client messages within 24 hours.
Then, as you continue systematizing your follow-up process, use some of these ideas to regularly touch your clients.
Surprise Them! Reward clients for being loyal to you. Think about what kind of rewards your customers would appreciate most. One well-known business coach regularly sends a $25 gift card or a cute coffee cup from Amazon to her VIP clients who often send him business.
Remind current clients of other products and services you offer.
Send links to products and services that will make their lives simpler.
Create a Bonus product or service, or a special package of products and services priced specially for them. Such a package could include services they’re not taking advantage of but could if wrapped into a package.
Implement or activate a referral process.
Be very clear about who you want as a referral and why. And couch the request as a compliment: “I’d love it if you could refer people just like you, people clear about expectations and needs, and fun to be around!”
Thank clients for every referral every time – even if it didn’t result in a sale.
When you commit to completing at least one task a day, and if you hold fast to your Rules, your sales WILL increase. And before you know it, you’ll be heading towards the RED HOT SALES zone.