There is a practice in marketing that says that you need an average of at least seven contacts with a potential customer before you get a sale.
Marketing folklore says that this varies from business to business, but for a typical business selling a mid-price product or service, it will often take an average of seven contacts before the customer buys.
I don’t subscribe to this old-school thinking.
Why? We are living in the ‘attention age’. We are bombarded with so much advertising and marketing that we ignore four out of five of the communications we see. We ignore much of our email and certainly most of the advertising that we see.
So if four out of five messages don’t really get through effectively, we need to multiply our seven steps by four to ensure that we are hitting the target. This changes the recommended seven step approach to a twenty eight step method.
The simple lesson is this – YOU MUST FOLLOW UP WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS AND PROSPECTS MORE THAN EVER BEFORE.
You need a communications plan of call – letter – call – presentation – email – call – letter – call – email – call – you get the idea!
Now some of you are probably thinking that this approach is overkill. It’s not!
You have to remember that most people have a great deal of ‘stuff’ going on in their lives. So if buying your product or service is not their number one priority at this precise moment in time – it may have absolutely nothing to do with you and a great deal to do with the fact that they have other priorities to deal with.
That’s why communicating to them over time works so wonderfully. Peoples’ circumstances change. The person who won’t even take your call today may be totally responsive next month and far more open to your contact – so keep in touch and keep following up. I’d rather over-communicate and succeed, than under-communicate and fail.
It’s not just following up with potential new customers that is essential for your business success. Many businesses lose out on considerable profits by not following up with their existing customers.
Your existing customers are a potential goldmine. Our existing clients know us, have tested our product and service and hopefully now like and trust us. They are far more likely to do business with you again than a ‘cold’ prospect, someone who you have no relationship with.
You must have a follow-up system for your existing customers, offering them new and additional products and services, up-sells and cross-sells, as well as ensuring that they are satisfied with what you are currently offering them.
Again, the best approach is normally a combination of email, mailings and direct communication by telephone or in person. It depends on what you are offering and your prices so test various combinations. There will always be a few people who don’t want to hear from you again. They will express this clearly. Don’t take this personally. Move on!
For everyone else – keep in touch, again and again and again. Your patience, persistence and enthusiasm will pay off. The potential rewards are significant – more business for you and you will grab market share from your competitors.
John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.
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