The Follow Up Fortune

There are so many skills I do not possess. We’re all good at certain things and poor at others. But have you ever felt like you were much better at something than you really are? C’mon, admit it. Being shy? Okay, I’ll go first. A vice of mine is cranking up the radio in my car when I’m alone and singing along. With no regard to the volume of my voice, I will go all out if it’s a song that I am totally into. I’ll add the drums onto the steering wheel if it’s appropriate. 

I got busted on the drums last week. I was near the end of a song when I pulled up to a red light, turned slightly to my left to find two teenage girls in the car next to me mimicking my drum solo. If I was a teenager, I would have been embarrassed. Instead, I nodded my head in defiance and finished the song strongly. 

It’s a good thing they couldn’t hear my singing. Years ago, I was given a rude awakening. During one of my solo concerts inside of my car, I was crooning along to an energetic part of a song, reaching a key point when I accidentally turned the radio off. My voice didn’t get the memo in time and I actually heard myself singing, full force with everything I had, for the first time in my life. To say that I was sickened, saddened and in shock by the utter awfulness of my singing would be a complete understatement. I still can’t believe any singing can be that horribly bad. 

I honestly thought that I had a decent voice until then. Luckily, I’m not that bad at everything. I’ve acknowledged that no matter how much I practiced or sang along to the radio, I was never going to be a professional singer. 

Fortunately, I don’t need to rely on singing to make a living. But another thing that I also wasn’t good at in the past is now something that I’ve recognized to be a secret weapon to our success. 

The follow up. 

I used to be awful at following up with people. I was inconsistent at best in keeping in touch. Due to aloofness, disorganization and the feeling of imposter syndrome, I would let so much communication and connection slip through the cracks. 

In business, we are going to meet tons of people. Some are going to be extremely interested in what you do, many will be curious and some will have no interest at all. But solopreneurs and small business owners are often too shy for their own good in letting their potential clients know what they have to offer. We’re afraid to be “that guy”. You know, the one who shamelessly sells us just to make the sale without regard to if it’s a good fit all around. 

Personally, when I meet someone or see a product I might be interested in, I’m usually not going to buy right away. Impulse spending is a great way to get into financial trouble. But I always appreciate a follow up, especially if a relationship is developed. If the trust is there. When someone follows up with me, it shows me that they are consistent, believe in their product and they are thinking of me personally. 

But for whatever reason, the follow up seems to be a hard habit to establish. When I talk to people about it, they all know they should be doing it. But it rarely seems important enough to do with all of the tasks on our plate. But what if you knew that reestablishing this one habit could dramatically improve so many areas of your business? Would you take it more seriously?

So, why is it so hard for so many to do?  I’ve asked this of others so often that I can recite the responses in my sleep. Let’s go through the biggest reasons why people don’t follow up, and why that is a huge mistake.

They don’t want to be pushy!

I get this. I really get this. I struggled with this for a long time. At times, I still do. Do you know why? Because I hate being sold to. I don’t know if you are like this, but it just irks me when those selling care more about getting the sale than they do about selling me something that I actually need. Or want.  

I still remember going to buy a pair of jeans, and I wasn’t even out of the changing room when the attendant said, without even looking at me, “I can ring you up over here!” And I said, “Well, I’d like to show my wife first and see what she thinks!” The salesperson was much more interested in the sale than what I wanted or needed. It was such a turnoff that I didn’t buy the jeans for that reason.  

I think so many of us have been jaded by the pushy salesperson that it’s made us go the completely opposite direction.  

Not long after that, we had a client take us to task for not following up. She had her own business, and luckily, she liked us. After she booked with us, she called me out. “Stop being so shy about what you offer,” she stated matter-of-factly. “Stop worrying about selling me.” The truth is, I need what you do. Your work- your skill- helps me. By not letting people know, you are robbing them of the chance to be helped by you.” 

Ouch. I never saw it that way. I was always so concerned about being pushy, that I never realized that our services were something that really helped others, and they needed to hear from me. That got me over the uncomfortableness of reaching out. As they say, life begins at the end of your comfort zone. I really just needed to get over it.

In the fear of coming across pushy, we would delay or decide to never follow up. But research shows that if you follow up with online leads within five minutes, you’re nine times more likely to work with you!

So we learned that, by following up, we found out there were pretty much five responses we would get back. And once we did, it made us realize that none of them were fatal, and many of them led to a lot of money that we never would have seen without following up.  

Remember- The fortune is in the follow up! If you would like to see what those five responses are, and how to overcome the fear of the follow up to gain more clients, connections and greater success, head on over to our blog here!

Here are the five responses we get back after following up. 

1- They didn’t respond back. 

The more that happened, the more I realized that the world didn’t end. But it was rare to have someone not respond to a follow up. And even when there was no response, I will set a reminder to reach out in a month or two  just to check in to see how they are personally. Often, this reminds them of what we originally talked about, and often re-opens conversations about the possibility of us working together. Ironically enough, they would be the ones to bring it up. 

2-They apologized for not getting back to me!

To add on to the end of the first point, they had thought about our conversation and felt bad about not responding. Often, they just got bogged down, overwhelmed with everything else they had going on, or just weren’t ready at that time. If done in an authentic and thoughtful way, the follow up makes your potential customer feel special. It makes them see that you are interested in what is going on with them. Often, they are looking and waiting for the sales pitch, and when you reach out without giving them one, they begin to see you in a different light and they start to trust you more. 

3- They responded back, but weren’t interested. Yet.

Again, the world didn’t end after they got back to me with a no, not yet, or not at this time. Even better, the ‘no’ might not be a permanent no. According to Marketing Donut, 63% of people requesting information on your company today will not purchase for at least three months – and 20% will take more than 12 months to buy. Also, according to Gleanster Research, 50% of leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy.  We are playing the long game here. We are building the skyscraper, not a little shack put together out of desperation. The follow up helps build that ultimate network.  

4- They were thankful to me for getting back in touch and putting in the extra effort to reach out. 

See, it turns out people are busy! Just because you are checking your email and messages consistently, that does not mean that everyone else is. People are busier now than ever before, and their attention is scattered in a million different places. So, by following up, you actually make it easier for them. It’s easier for them to make a decision- either yes or no. Because deep down, they know they are delaying getting back to you. So when they see that message, it’s almost a relief. If they aren’t interested, it’s then a breeze to respond back, say it’s not a fit at this time, and move on. They don’t have to be the one to reject you because you reached out!  

5- They were ready- and excited- to book. 

This will happen more often than you realize. Research shows that 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first. And these are the fun ones that make you scratch your head for not doing it sooner, and more often. It often seems like people are looking for a reason to buy, and they need something to help them pull the trigger. The follow up shows that you care, are thinking about them, and aren’t just looking at them as a number.  

Have you heard the stat that people need to hear from you seven times before they will buy from you? Seven times! It might not be that they weren’t interested in your offer, it might be that they haven’t heard from you enough to trust you yet.  

I make it a habit to make consistent connections to the people who are interested, even slightly in what we do. We keep a journal of the people who have reached out to us, the ones who are interested, and things like what they are struggling with, what they are looking to achieve and what their goals and dreams are. Note that these are not clients of ours. At least not yet. And they might never be. But not only does the consistent follow up allow us to help them along the way, it gives us a ton of information as to what the struggles are of the people we are looking to help. It allows us to create content- or find articles and podcasts that can help- and send these to them as an unexpected bonus. Or create that content ourselves.

That follow up builds trust, and that trust eventually might lead to them believing in you enough for them to hire you. And one final stat to drive this home about how powerful the follow up really is when it comes to sales.  Eighty percent of sales require five follow-ups after the meeting, and ninety three percent of bookings happen by the sixth contact! 

– Vincent 

 

I’ll be back next week!

In the meantime, I love adding options that can be a help to you!

1- I offer the audio version of my first book, Freelance to Freedom, absolutely FREE here. I was honored to have amazing people like Seth Godin and Pat Flynn endorse the book!

2- Grab a copy of my new book, The Wealth of Connection here. 

3- If you are looking for an amazing community of business owners to work through the loneliness of entrepreneurship, build amazing connections and create that business that provides you time, money and location freedom, check out The Total Life Freedom Mastermind Community here.

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