In March, the Keystone Mastermind Alliance held multiple Business Brainstorms events about follow-up. We hear all the time that the fortune is in the follow-up. However, follow-up tends to happen when we are in the mood, when we just happen to remember, or when we have some hot new product or service to promote. It’s random follow-up and it definitely does not produce much of a fortune, at least not consistently.
True growth and consistent revenue generation comes from consistent and sustained follow-up. During our Business Brainstorms, we explored barriers to follow-up, solutions, and even some cool technology solutions that can help us systemize our follow-up. Here are some of the key discussion points from the events.
Follow-Up Isn’t Pestering
We hear it all the time “I didn’t follow-up because I didn’t want to seem pushy” or “I don’t want to bug people”. Good follow-up isn’t about being a pest, it’s about finding the right timing and message to keep yourself front-of-mind.
I have been networking among Business Owners and Entrepreneurs for 10+ years. I can no longer count the times I have clearly expressed interest in a product or service and asked the business owner to follow-up with me only to never hear from them again. In general, those of us in business for ourselves need to consistently close sales in order to maintain a steady stream of revenue to pay our obligations, feed our family, save for the future, etc.
Yet, business owners leave money on the table all the time by ignoring clear buying signals. The bottom line is this, if someone gives you permission to follow-up, do it! Whether they buy or not, practice excellent follow-up every time. For the record, I’ve been guilty of this too. I solved this “ball-dropping” by putting systems in place.
If you truly believe your product or service has value, then be confident in presenting to others. Try different approaches and different touch points for your follow-up until you find the right rhythm for your business.
Follow-Up isn’t Just About Sales
Often when follow-up is discussed as a business strategy, most business owners and entrepreneurs think it’s about following up with sales prospects. While that is a common type of follow-up, it’s not the only one. Follow-up also involves:
• Managing the day-to-day of your operations with a bit of sanity
• Returning phone calls or responding to emails in a reasonable amount of time
• Staying engaged with your business networking associates and strategic partners
• Practicing timely and clear communication with current clients
• Having a process for staying in touch with past clients
• Staying visible and relevant to online connections and followers
Having processes for the different type of follow-up needed to keep your business growing can boost your reputation as a professional, keep you from embarrassing gaps, avoid missed opportunities, and ultimately put more money in your pocket.
Follow-Up Doesn’t Have to Be Fancy
It really doesn’t matter if your follow-up system is Post-it’s on a wall, written notes in a notebook, appointments in a calendar, or messages on a chalkboard. What matters is that you find a system that you like and you can stick to. It’s also okay to use different tactics for different segments. For example, you may use a cutting-edge CRM system to track your current client projects and use events in your Google calendar to remind you to connect with strategic partners. Whatever you choose to do, be sure to have the proper recourses on hand to execute your plan.
Every time I book a new client at my 4Fitness studio, I immediately send them a thank you card. I keep cards, envelops, and stamps in my studio so when my client leaves, I write a personalized message and use the address on their intake form to address the envelope. It’s quick and I don’t have to worry about forgetting. If I am running low on cards, I use my Google calendar to schedule time to order more.
As part of my intake process I gather the client’s birthday, street address, and email address and I create a fitness anniversary. I set up my new client in Constant Contact which will automatically email them on their birthday and fitness anniversary. This guarantees that my clients will get at least 2 more touch points outside of the studio. I also layer non-automated touch points like a text or paper card on their birthday. Part of my system is to keep birthday cards on hand and to preschedule texts if needed. Be genuine and be prepared with systems.
There are Great Online Tools for Follow-Up
For professionals who want to explore digital tools for follow-up there are great options in the market. During our Business Brainstorm we covered a few and one in particular, Trello, was so intriguing we were asked to put together a Trello workshop which is scheduled for April 27th (see our Events page).
Here are the main systems / tools we discussed:
• Trello – An online tool with great free features that acts like a bulletin board. You can create boards for tasks, clients, future plans – you name it. Within boards you can add lists, upload files, set due dates. The best part? You can share individual boards with team members or even clients.
• Constant Contact – An email marketing system that we really like. There are many others including Mail Chimp, AWebber, Drip, etc. While not the cheapest, we like Constant Contact because it’s user friendly.
• Active Campaign – A simpler solution than Infusion Soft, Active Campaign is a brilliant combinations of CRM and Email Marketing System. It also enables invoicing, text marketing, database automation, and loads more. A great option for those who need a robust system but don’t have the budget or time for the Infusion products.
• 17Hats – A beautiful CRM system that also features robust client and project management resources. Meant as a one-stop-shop for business owners, it also includes questionnaires, proposals, invoicing, lead tracking, and more.
• Asana – A project management tool that allows professionals to break down client projects into components, assign tasks to internal and external team members, and also share files with the team or client.
• Insightly – Another task oriented CRM and project management system. Easy to use and perfect for business owners who need to carefully track leads, lead sources, and sales conversions.
• Google Calendar – Never under estimate the power of the Google calendar! Available on almost al digital devices it’s a great tool for setting up reminders. You client mentions she is buying a new car next week? Schedule a reminder to contact her and ask about her new car. Your strategic partner is having a big event in two weeks? Schedule time to register for the event, promote the event, and / or attend the event.
Take Control of Your Follow-Up
Whether you perfect a manual process of your own or dive into a digital solution, commit to improving your follow-up. No need to overdo it. If you haven’t been doing any follow-up, then once a quarter or once a month may be a great start. Set yourself up for success and build a plan you can follow consistently. If calling 5 people a day isn’t realistic for you, call 5 people a month. Remember that there are different segments of your world (client, past client, partners, etc.) that may require different methods of follow-up. Find your perfect processes and your own rhythm to keep your eye on the fortune!
About KMA Brainstorming Events
Every month, the Keystone Mastermind Alliance hosts Business Brainstorming events in the Tampa Bay Area. Different than networking meetings, these events are limited to 15 pre-registered participants and focus around a central theme. The objective is to create an interactive environment where all attendees share perspective, expertise, challenges, solutions, and strategies.
KMA co-founders, Liz M Lopez and Tracie Thompson, facilitate the Business Brainstorm events to ensure that the discussion moves along, everyone gets a voice, and that as a group we stay on topic. To learn more, visit our Business Brainstorm page.