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The reason so many of us blog and are on social media is to make contacts for our business. Yet so many of us have trouble following up after an initial contact. A colleague may tell us to connect with a person, and so we friend them or connect on LinkedIn, but then forget about the important part — following up with this person.
There are many reasons people don’t follow up:
Don’t have time
Don’t recognize the opportunity
Don’t think it’s worth the time
Here are some ways follow-up can really help:
It keeps you in the forefront of your customer and potential customers’ minds. Anytime anyone shows any interest in your product or service, make a mental note. Then a real note, and finally, follow-up. Not just by connecting via social networking, but by sending an email or making a phone call.
Listen to your customers and follow-up with their words fresh in your mind. If someone mentioned they need a certain service, and you follow up informing them you can provide that service, not only have you proven you should do business together, but you’ve proven you’re a great listener.
Unfortunately, there’s a flip side. You also need to know when to let potential leads go. It won’t do any good to seem desperate or keep trying to fan a fire that is already dead.
My favorite form is follow-up is email. It’s easy to keep track of, and also, email allows you to use templates.
What are your follow-up rituals?
The first thing to know about relationship marketing is that its main goal is to develop a long-term relationship with a client. If you sit down the think about it, chances are you get most of your business from repeat clients, not new ones. Therefore, it’s extremely important to nurture the relationships with those who use you.
I’m not suggesting you become buddy-buddy with your clients. You need to maintain a professionalism, but you do need to look at each interaction as one event that builds on top of other events.
So how do you do this? First, make sure to put in the effort and follow-up with customers. Many years ago my grandpa and his brother ran a business called Client Follow-Up. The entire idea behind it was to send birthday cards, thank you cards, and follow-up cards to clients for real estate companies. My uncle built it from the ground up based solely on the idea that it was important to build relationships.
When you think about it, this achieved two goals. One, it made the customer feel warm and fuzzy that their real-estate agent remembered their birthday, or sent a note to say that they hoped the new home was working out. But two, it kept the real-estate agent’s name in front of their customers. Maybe it was just once a year, but people move a lot, and this way, real-estate agents could feel comfortable knowing they never let a client slip through the cracks.
Today with email, it’s much easier to keep in touch. Companies don’t need an entire business to serve their follow-up needs (or maybe they do), but follow-up really is an incredibly important aspect of relationship marketing.
I’m going to stop here today. I think follow-up is important enough to earn its own blog post. What ways do you use to follow-up? Do you do anything individually or do you use an email blast to hit many customers at once? Do you agree that fostering long-term relationships with customers should be at the top of every company’s priority list?