5 Ways to Make Doing a Follow-Up Successful and Enjoyable
To some degree, it seems like everyone struggles with doing a follow-up – especially many small businesses. In fact, follow ups are generally seen as:
- too time consuming
- too repetitive
- a boring or depressing way to spend time you could have used doing something more productive
- too involved with all of the many channels available – email, SMS, snail mail, voice mail, etc.
- easy to get ignored, even by those who know better!
But here at ResponsiBid, we’ve seen how many ways there are to both automate and personalize the follow-up after a job… and we’ve also seen the huge success that comes to the companies who make the time to do it.
And once you’ve seen these 5 ways to make doing a follow-up both fun and successful, you’ll experience a mindset shift – and become a true believer in the power of the follow up.
1. Follow-Up with people who decline to do business with you
Once a prospective client tells you, “No,” you’re actually in a pretty sweet spot. After all… what’s the worst that happens when you follow up? They tell you no again.
After a month or two, follow-up with these folks who’ve already told you to hit the road. You can keep it classy by saying something like: “I’m sure you made an excellent decision with whomever you trusted for your project, but on the off-chance that you weren’t completely satisfied, I wanted to see if there was anything I could do to be of help.”
You can do this via email, text, or phone. If you don’t hear back from them within the next 30 days, send a postcard.
If the experience that the company they went with left them feeling a little bit empty inside, your communicative nature and refreshing kindness will be just what the doctor ordered.
In fact, our ResponsiBidders report that this is the most powerful follow-up tool they’ve got in their arsenal. Shocked?
Maybe. But for those who are looking for that something extra, you’ve just proven your company to have the class, kindness, and professionalism they were looking for.
2. Ask for a review, then ask for a referral
Word of mouth referrals are the most powerful. That’s why you need to ask for reviews.
Then, once you know that someone is willing to publicly say nice things about you, ask them to share their experience on social media. That way, you can ask them if they’ve got any friends who would like a similar experience.
Here’s one classy way you could ask that: “I really appreciate your kind words! If you decide to end up sharing that experience on social media, could you please tag us? I’m sure you’ll get a lot of comments, as most people tend to have frustrating experiences with their ________ provider.”
And just like that, your customers become your sales people. No matter how you look at it, that’s a win.
3. If your customer needs time, follow-up using a “3 person conversation”
If you’ve ever worried that you’re sending too many emails (or texts) to a person who’s still on the fence about doing business with you, then this is the perfect way to follow up. Just be aware that getting the rhythm right is very difficult.
But, here’s a classy way to catch the rhythm by email:
Email 1: “Hi, I’m Johnny. I just wanted to get you a copy of your proposal and would love to serve you. Let me know if you have any questions.”
Then, if you get the typical response of …no response…
Email 2: “Hi, I’m Sally! I work with Johnny. He said that he reached out to you a couple days
ago with a copy of the proposal, but I wanted to introduce myself, as I’m the company scheduler. If
you have any questions, I would be more than happy to answer them. I look forward to talking to you. Johnny told me about your project – and it sounds really great!”
If you still don’t get a response, here’s what comes next.
Email 3: “Hi there! Johnny again. I’m not sure if Sally reached out to you yet, but she seemed really excited when I told her about your project. So I thought I would send over her phone number (as she does the scheduling), but feel free to let me know if you have any questions about our proposal.”
See how that works? Just because someone doesn’t respond doesn’t mean that the conversation has to awkwardly end. Simply add another person into the conversation to keep it going!
4. Use texting to initiate conversation sparingly.
Spam is everywhere. And email is no refuge from the spam storm. In fact, everyone knows that their inbox is going to be full of sales pitches, business stuff, and long lists of exhaustion.
So getting someone’s phone number – and being able to text them – is sacred. Keep any text communication short, non-spammy, personal, and don’t get yourself blocked.
On a smartphone, it only takes 1 telemarketing call to get a number blocked these days. In other words, once you’ve gotten blocked once, your odds of being marked a spam telemarketer just skyrocketed. So don’t get yourself blocked.
Only send texts only when someone has opted in. Oh, and if your text message response is automated, don’t let it look automated. Keep it short and to the point. That means no paragraphs, no signatures, and nothing like an email.
Here’s a classy way to do this: “Hi James! I know you’re busy so I thought I’d text you real quick to see if you had time to talk later today. I look forward to chatting!”
See? Simple. And then you can chat it up later.
5. Always have a contingency, or a backup follow-up plan.
As you’re setting up your system for following up with customers, make sure that you do so in a way that makes sense to your customers.
In other words, during the pre-purchase process, your follow-up should focus on education and the unique benefits your company can offer.
Then, it should constantly be focused on helping those prospective clients to take the next steps to being a paying customer. One way to do this is by asking questions about how you can assist them with their initial pain points.
Once the project or experience is completed, the first follow-up should be focused on getting reviews (like on NiceJob!), referrals, and social media shares.
Then, once you know that the service went well, you should start using timely, appropriate follow-up to get the repeat business process going. Because if your customer forgets about you, they can’t be loyal to you. So be there for them. And keep helping them (and yourself) by following up.