Monday, June 18, 2012

Fantastic Follow-Up Techniques - Part III

At the May 9 Erie Sales Club workshop, the group discussed Fantastic Follow-Up Techniques. This is the final article in a series highlighting that discussion. Our workshop concluded with attendees answering this question: What follow-up techniques have been most effective for you -- either on the phone, face-to-face, email, or "offline"?

* Take notes during the conversation regarding follow-up items. Use these to establish next steps to remind you to send follow-up information. You're not going to remember every detail, so write it down.
* Manage expectations about next steps. Only make promises you can keep, and help your contact to do the same.
* Be specific which discussing next steps. "I'll get that information to you soon" isn't as clear as "I will email that list of Waterford addresses to you by lunchtime Thursday."
* Have a follow-up plan for yourself that includes typical actions such as clearly establishing next steps at the end of each call and scheduling follow-up actions in your Outlook calendar.
* Send gift cards for referrals. This is money well spent.
* People love handwritten notes, so make it personal and take the two minutes to write.
* Keep in touch with customers and prospects about more than just business. Stop by their office to drop off a Mother's/Father's day gift, baked goods they might like, lottery tickets for their staff, etc.
* Establish alerts in your CRM to ensure you follow-up with a contact and don't forget about them.
* Gather as much information as you can during your initial meeting so you know what you can follow-up on.
* If you come across an online article that you think might interest them (from a business perspective or personal/hobby perspective), forward them the link.
* To ensure you come across articles like this, set up a Google alert.
* Clip out appropriate information in the newspaper and mail it to them.
* Connect with them on LinkedIn and other social media outlets.
* If you are Facebook friends, you will receive an alert that it's their birthday. Don't be like every other Facebook friend of theirs and send them a happy birthday message. Pick up the phone or send them a card to wish them happy birthday.
* Establish a regular newsletter that truly provides value. For example, a real estate agent sends a newsletter to customers with news about the Erie County reassessment.
* Share follow-up best practices with your team. Have a bulletin board in the office to post activities that have worked. This will raise the collective IQ of your group.

Panelists for the workshop were Derek Van Slyke of Jameson Publishing, Brad Allen of Rossbacher Insurance, and Christie Mahany of Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services.

The Erie Sales Club is a joint effort of four leading local businesses: Jameson Publishing, Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services, VertMarkets, and Howland Peterson Consulting.