One of the biggest mistakes I see businesses make time and again is to concentrate on getting more leads to the detriment of something just as, if not more, important.
They put a lot of effort into their lead-generation but then they miss out something so fundamental to marketing that, in many cases, almost all that effort goes to waste.
Here’s what I mean, and before you read this you’d better sit down, especially if you’re spending a good amount of money on lead-generation and you haven’t been making as much money as you’d like.
I’m talking about follow-up — and not just the odd bit of follow-up, like sending a single letter or a beautifully-designed brochure and then sitting back waiting (and hoping in vain) for the phone to ring and the orders to flood in. No, I’m talking about constant follow-up, a system which stalks your leads like a bloodhound following an escaped convict, though in a legitimate and non-threatening way, of course. Why is this so important?
Because only 2% of sales are made after the first follow-up. That means 98% of people who might be disposed toward buying something from you will completely ignore that initial letter or brochure.
But (and this is the really important point) a massive 98% of sales are made from the second to the twelfth contact, with the fifth to twelfth contacts accounting for about 80% of sales. This means by following up just once, you could be leaving 98% of potential sales on the table, leaving the profits for someone else to walk away with. Or put another way, take a look at the number of sales you’re making right now, and realise for every sale you’re making, you could easily be making fifty. You also need to realise that leads
don’t come for free. You pay good money on Adwords and print advertising and the like, and for every prospect that contacts you and then doesn’t buy, you’ve wasted money. If you’re selling a high-ticket item with expensive advertising costs, that could mean a lot of money going down the drain year after year. And if that doesn’t convince you of the value of follow-up, I don’t know what will.
So, if you want to make more sales, follow-up is the thing. Now for the important question: how do we do it? It’s actually not that difficult, you’ll be pleased to know. You don’t need any amazing skill or spend years learning complicated strategies. Once you have the prospect’s contact details, there are several ways to keep in touch.
Send a Newsletter
The great thing about a newsletter is you can use it to really show your expertise in your market. Even better, because most of your competitors won’t follow up at all, sending a newsletter makes you the person the prospect is most likely to remember.
The prospect may not be ready to buy just yet, but when they are, the chances are they’ll think of you. A newsletter doesn’t need to try to sell anything. There’s nothing stopping you putting in special offers (especially time-sensitive offers with a deadline), but for the most part all it needs to do is give useful information.
Now, before you complain there’s nothing to write about in your industry, just remember you have a lot of knowledge people would be glad to have, knowledge to help them make the right purchase decision, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re selling to businesses or consumers.
Just a few things you could write about to help you brainstorm ideas:
- A problem you solved for a customer or client
- A tip to help with some problem or other
- Reviews of a new product
- How to do something related to what you’re selling
Let’s take just some of the ideas above and look at a specific type of business — a wine store. The owner could write about:
- How to choose a wine for a party
- Reviews of new wine or the latest year
- How to plan a party, and the drinks to serve
These kinds of idea are suited to almost any kind of shop, including grocery stores, specialist food stores, you name it. And don’t forget to add ideas relating to the season — Christmas, Easter, summertime, autumn. You can even take a current event and hook something on to that. And remember, it’s always a good idea to add some chatty stuff about yourself, stuff not related to your business at all. This is all about building a relationship, and there’s nothing more powerful than getting your customers to see you as a person, someone they like to hear from.
You can do the same thing with email, except instead of having several items of interest, just send one, though you can do it more regularly. If your emails are informative and fun to read, people will be glad to hear from you. A great advantage of email is that it’s fast and it’s cheap. You can use it to test offers to your list very easily, though remember again that this is all about relationship-building. Even if you have no compelling offers to make, just sending out regular emails with useful stuff will still make you more sales, just because you’ll be seen as the expert.
The Humble Postcard
Simple but effective is all that needs to be said about the postcard. Just send one out once every week or so with a special offer and you’re almost guaranteed to make more sales. A postcard isn’t as cheap as email, but most local print shops will print them up for a few pence each, and the postage is less than that of a letter.
The Complete Package
This takes a bit of work to put together, but if you email just three times a week, send out a monthly newsletter, and then send a postcard every two weeks, you’ll be following up more in a month than many businesses do in a year. If this brought in just 10% more sales, it’s almost certainly going to be profitable, and highly profitable at that. In fact, just the very fact you actually do follow-up puts you at a tremendous advantage compared with your competitors, because (and here’s some more powerful statistics for you) 48% of businesses never follow up at all, and only 10% of businesses follow up more than three times.
CHRIS KEY TAKEAWAYS
As Woody Allen once remarked, 80% of success is showing up. So show up by following up, and I guarantee you’ll make more sales and profits.
Please share here your thoughts on this article about Chris Cardell, share it on social media and express your views. To learn more about Chris Cardell visit his website chriscardell.com or Chris Cardell’s Media Company, Cardell Media Ltd. There is also an interesting video interview with Chris Cardell. His next life changing event is The Sovereignty Summit with Chris and Dan Kennedy on 29th – 30th of September 2015.