In business as in life, it is well-advised to make good first impressions with the people you meet. However, to turn a good first impression into a productive business relationship, you need to earn a person’s trust. Trust is earned over time, which is why a good follow-up strategy is just as crucial as a good first impression when it comes to locking down business deals.
So what exactly is a good follow-up strategy?
It’s about keeping the communication alive and making sure it is moving in the right direction. People are busy, reminding and incentivizing them helps to ensure your offer stays fresh in their mind.
The following guide is designed to help you create a follow-up strategy that will turn your potential clients into actual ones.
#1. Create the Opportunity to Follow-Up
You can start implementing your follow up strategy before your first meeting is even over.
Before you conclude the meeting, suggest an activity that you can agree on such as a second meeting or sending an informative email.
Whatever it is it should have an approximate time schedule that gives you the cue you need to reconnect with your client once the meeting is over. It is important to agree on something that both you and the client can look forward to.
#2. Personalize Your Follow-Up Emails
Whether it be a jokey photo, a gif, or just some well-written copy, a personalized email is a great way to stand out in your prospects inbox.
#3. Make the Follow-Up Email All About Them
If a prospective client suspects that you have sent them a mass email they are much more likely to ignore it. If you can contextualize your message and make it about the client you are bringing them into the conversation. From here, you are much more likely to build up a trusting relationship.
#4. Offer Your Advice
Not every part of your follow up strategy should be sales based. The initial phase of your communication should be focused on solving any problems that your client is facing. This is a great opportunity to build up trust and confidence with your client. By offering additional advice on the prospect’s problems, you can show them you are on board with their mission.
Put your product to one side and offer solutions that can have an instant impact. This could be in the form of research articles, eBooks, or helpful videos that are based on the issue at hand.
This strategy helps by building relations and also keeping you and your business in the mind of the prospect.
#5. Offer Value in Every Follow-Up
The true objective of a follow up is to build trust and deliver value for the prospect. Ideally, your correspondence will be so interesting and useful for your prospect that they actually look forward to hearing from you.
This becomes a lot easier to achieve if you know your prospect well and understand their pain points and their needs. This way you can have conversations that are helpful to them as well as you. Each new item of correspondence should contain a new nugget of value for your prospect, whether that be through advice or resources that connect to their business.
#6. Remind your Prospect of all the Details
Even with the best intentions, people forget things. If you are dealing with high-level management or people with complex work lives, there is a good chance they will forget some of the details you discussed in your previous meeting. Don’t take the chance and assume that the prospect has remembered every amazing detail of your multi-layered offer.
Structure your follow-up strategy so that your prospect is always fully aware of what you are offering and how it will benefit them. A good technique is to make a note of what the prospect was excited by in your original meeting. You can bring these elements to the forefront of your follow up communications.
#7. Don’t Force the Issue
Patience is a virtue. There are a wealth of reasons a deal might be delayed if you find your follow-ups aren’t having the desired effect, stay patient. It is never a great look to try and force a prospect into making a decision. Firstly, remember that they have no duty to go with you, and secondly, they’re running a business that involves much more than just the issue you are discussing.
A deal can fall through in the moment but be reignited at a later date, but this will only happen if you maintain a good relationship with the prospect.
#8. Create a Clear Call-to-Action
You are trying to sell a service or product – this is the number one goal of your follow up strategy. With that in mind, it is important to craft a clear and attractive call to action for every phase of that strategy.
#9. Connect on Social Media
Making use of social media is a strategy that all businesses should be on top of. In particular, Linkedin and Twitter are excellent resources in the follow-up strategy game. Linkedin is where the majority of B2B deals happen on social media, whereas Twitter is a great resource for learning more about your prospects’ business. If you combine these two platforms to help communicate with the prospect, you once again maintain the flow of conversation and keep your deal fresh in their minds. LinkedIn’s new “LinkedIn for Sales Professionals” version also provides follow-up tools that help maintain customer relations.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking a great first meeting guarantee’s a sale. A good first impression should always be accompanied by a good follow up strategy. This strategy should be adaptable to the specifics of the situation, and it is no guarantee of success, but it is the best way to turn warm and cold leads into locked down deals.