Bridging the Follow-Up Gap
Quote of the Week
“A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it.”
~ Frank Herbert
Bridging the Follow-Up Gap
by Robert Middleton
Pop Quiz: What’s the biggest canyon in the world?
No, not the Grand Canyon. It’s the “Follow-Up Gap.”
This is the gap between the marketing activity you direct towards a prospective client and setting up an appointment with this prospect.
No gap is wider, and untold millions fall between this gap every year. The prospect is interested, you’ve done a good job at marketing and then what happens?
You either don’t follow-up or you follow-up ineptly.
So how do you manage the follow-up gap? Understanding this could have a huge impact on the success of your business. Here are the three client-attracting steps you need to master:
- Marketing generates interest and warms up prospects. In marketing ball, you get the attention of a prospect, develop familiarity, provide information and then offer an experience of you and your business so they are at a place of genuine interest in your services.
- You then follow-up appropriately, not to make the sale or even to pitch your services, but to talk to explore the possibility of setting up a selling conversation (also known as a Strategy Session).
- A Strategy Session must be set up with a qualified prospect under favorable conditions. The conditions are: a) They already know you and know something about your services, b) they are able to meet with you for 60 to 90 minutes uninterrupted, and c) they are sincerely ready to explore working with you.
Once you’ve set up this session, you switch from Marketing to Selling and you finally have the opportunity of converting a prospect into a paying client.
Sounds easy, right?
But since most have such a hard time making this happen, something must be wrong. What are you missing? Well, a whole lot of things can go wrong in this process without you being aware of them. Here are a few:
- You fail to implement the marketing process effectively. You don’t get the attention, build familiarity, provide information or offer experiences. In other words, you don’t build relationships. People like to do business with people they know, not strangers.
- You follow up either too soon, trying to get an appointment before the relationship is established or you follow up too late, even if the prospect is qualified and interested. Or worse, you don’t follow-up at all because you’re afraid of being rejected.
- You conduct an incompetent selling conversation. You talk too much and don’t listen enough, failing to really understand the prospect or their needs. You close too soon, too late, or not at all and wonder why nobody appreciates your wonderful services!
Look, attracting new clients to your business is not a mystery. Many people have cracked the code and enjoy as much business as they can manage. It’s not luck. It’s a skill implemented with discipline and consistency.
But if you had to work on only one thing, what would it be?
It would be mastering the Follow-up Gap.
Why? Because if you get into the habit of following up, sooner or later you’ll discover when follow-up works best and what marketing you have to do to warm up the prospect. And if you follow up a lot and get more appointments, sooner or later you’ll get the hang of the selling process.
Byron Katie says something similar: You can have anything you want in the world if you are willing to ask 1,000 people.
The More Clients Bottom Line: There are three simple keys to attracting more clients: Marketing, Follow-Up and Selling. Master all three and you’ll never worry about your future or the economy or money again. But you might want to start with follow-up. For one, it’s free, and secondly, the opportunities are infinite.
Copyright (c) 2010 by Robert Middleton and Action Plan Marketing. All rights reserved. Please visit Robert’s web site at http://www.actionplan.com.
Coaching Call to Action
Are you hitting or exceeding your sales goals for 2010? Do you have a follow-up process? Is the process automatic? If you answered no to any of these questions, read another article Robert wrote about some specific techniques on follow up strategies. Click here to read more.