"Breaking Down the Barriers to Follow Through"
Newsletter Sep 24, 2014
You will see a tremendous return on investment when you stay in contact with your customers. Many organizations, both large and small, struggle to keep in touch with their customers, because it can be such a time-consuming experience. However, if you break down the barriers to follow through and set up a system, your organization can keep in front of your clients and be ready to provide solutions when they are ready to buy. Here are a few ways to break down the barriers to follow through.
Schedule Follow-Through Time - Follow through is a time-consuming process that may slide down your priority list when you are caught up in daily activities. Build time into your schedule for it and understand that it is a long-term investment of your time, just like saving for retirement, "saving early and often" is the best long-term investment in a fruitful future. Good intentions are great but even better, make a physical appointment with yourself in your calendar, allocating time to spend time making contact with buyers. If the time is so constrained you can’t do follow up, then at least, select the 20% of customers who represent the 80% of the revenue for you and focus on follow up with them.
Don't Hesitate - Many of us would rather not be perceived as too pushy. Call with the point of just following through, if you are nervous about seeming pushy. If you are challenged in building rapport, don't make an offer the first time you call. Generally, never try to sell over the phone – go for the appointment to meet them whenever possible. If you are bringing some value to your client you can be confident to make the call. If you are just contacting for your benefit, the listener will perceive this is wasting their valuable time and your personal brand has been diminished or damaged.
Get Organized - Many organizations have a Customer Relationship Management system. Salespeople invariably find this dull, mind numbing, and consider it a total waste of their time. They also complain about the marketing efforts of the organization and don’t connect the dots. You cannot segment clients if you don’t have good information and the people with the best information are always the salespeople. Make sure that you get them to enter the original purchase information from the client correctly and completely. Use your scheduled follow-through time to get in contact with the clients about any discrepancies. Don’t waste people’s time. Be focused on the key message, which should be timely, relevant, and useful.
Learn - It is not unusual to make many false starts when developing a follow-through system. Even a good system that works for others might not work for you or your organization. If a system doesn't work for you, tweak it until it makes sense for you and your organization. Plan, Act, Do, Kaizen!
The most elaborate solution is no solution if it isn’t used. Practical always works best. If you are screen oriented, then a handheld device may be the best way forward. If you are more paper based, then a physical organizer may work wonders for you. Know yourself! Know what are the things that kill off your enthusiasm, such that best intentions and key initiatives just fade out. Look for the methodology or tools that will be encourage consistency and discipline. Review with the team, the systems approach you are using, because these things can become fixed and naively accepted when in fact they should be challenged or revised.