“If only I had more time to follow up”
Following up with sales enquiries is the task we wish we all did more of but never have the time for. We know how effective it is and we certainly appreciate it when people do it to us, so why do we find it so hard?
I know that in our business I used to be the world’s worst at following up with people I’d sent a proposal to. I conducted some research amongst some of our clients and I certainly wasn’t alone, so I dug deeper. Here’s what I found:
- They were certain they’d make more money if they followed up more.
- They didn’t because they didn’t have the time.
- The reason they didn’t have the time was because they felt each email needed to be written from scratch or they had to make calls.
- They had no quick way of reminding themselves to contact the person.
So a follow up system that pre-empts what you want to say, reminds you when to do it and takes almost no time would be a pretty good start! We looked around and found nothing that solved all these issues at once, so we decided to make something ourselves and start using it internally.
Immediately I noticed that I was being reminded to contact people that I knew I had completely forgotten about. This happened again and again so I knew we were on to something. For those of you using Better Proposals, this is available in the App Store for you.
Depending on your sales process, you’ll need different sequences to cater for the different stages your enquiries can be at. We use four:
- Pre-Proposal – Designed to get people interested after reading a book.
- Post-Proposal – Getting them to start the trial after knowing the price.
- On-Boarding – Encourages them to use the system.
- Become a Client – Guides them towards becoming a paying client.
My suggestion is to just focus on implementing one follow up sequence to start with. I would choose between Pre-Proposal and Post-Proposal.
To find out which one you would benefit from the most, just look at the biggest drop off rate in your sales process. If most people you speak to want a proposal, then that area of your business doesn’t have much of an issue and you should focus on Post-Proposal to increase conversion.
If on the other hand your conversion rate is fairly good but you could do with sending more proposals, then focus on a Pre-Proposal sequence.
What to Say and When to Say it?
This completely depends on your business, what you sell, how you sell it and a million other factors but I can tell you that you already have a near perfect working template, you just aren’t using it. Go through your inbox and sent items and find the last sale you made where you had to chase. Look at the emails you sent and mark out the key ones where you were pro-active.
Those are the emails that are going to make up the content. Also, look at the timing of the emails you sent and that will dictate the time delay between each communication. Were you leaving it quite a long time between emails? Be honest with yourself, could you maybe have sped up the process by being a little more aggressive in terms of timing?
Where the follow up system really comes into its own is the reminder part. Every morning at 6am it will scan the system for any follow up emails that need to be sent that day and will present them on your Dashboard.
You can open and send each one with 2 clicks making it lightning fast. Once you’ve done each one, it vanishes until they’re all gone. It’s this pro-active, daily prompting system that makes this so powerful.
Spreadsheets suck on the most part
As much as I’ve tried to replicate it with Google Calendar or fancy spreadsheets, it just doesn’t compare. That said, I realise not everyone reading book will either want, or have the requirement for a software system so I have made a spreadsheet which you can download below. It has some sample messages, the timing and a little marker for who’s received which email.
If you have a small number of sales enquiries and clients and you are good at keeping spreadsheets up to date then it’ll be fine. Ask yourself this though, if you are forgetting to follow up, are you going to remember to update this spreadsheet?