The importance of Follow Up in business – by Martin Norbury, The Scalability Coach
At this point some of you will tut, stop reading, move to another section or even hurl your PC/tablet across the room. Why? Because you’ll have heard this time and time again I’m sure, which is great, but is it SYSTEMISED into your business? Do you actually do it? Or, do you just say that you do and carry on kidding yourself? If a tiny fraction of your conscience says: “That might be me”, then read on.
The reason I am so passionate about this is I see everyday people like you, YES YOU, leaving money on the table and walking away from cash being in someone else’s bank account instead of yours. How crazy is that?
During December 2014, I had three situations that reminded me of the importance of follow up; two relating to my own business and the other, business I was looking to place.
Sitting comfortably? Let me explain….
Nearly two years ago, December 10th 2012 to be precise, I met a fellow Entrepreneur at a Mastermind session. Now to protect the innocent guilty I won’t provide too much detail, but they will know that I’m referring to them very soon. It became apparent, due to my situation, that I would be a great customer for them and I suggested they might like to contact me. Remember the date – 10th December 2012 – well, just last week on 5th December 2014 (again, nearly two years later) I paid this Entrepreneur over £3,000 for their products/services! So, what do we take from this?
Firstly, they could have had that money in their bank account TWO years ago. More importantly, the only reason they received it in the first place was that I, yes that’s ME, was very persistent. It would have been so easy to give my money to someone else, meaning that the business owner in question would have lost out. I also know that we’re probably not talking about just that few thousand pounds here – what would be the result if, on a monthly basis, there was someone else who wasn’t as persistent as me and who decided to go elsewhere. The math’s is simple – 24 months at £3,000/month is a whopping £72,000 left on the table!! Oops, just heard a large thump as aforementioned Entrepreneur has just fallen over.
I was recounting this story to a member of our team who immediately came back with this sorry response – “Well, I’m not surprised”. They went on to explain that they were recently conducting a market audit for one of our clients, collecting competitor responses. This basically involves our team getting in touch with our clients’ competitors via multiple methods of contact i.e. a call to their office, an email with an outline brief, submitting a query on their website – basically conducting what we call our MOT (Moments of Truth).
The result of the audit in terms of how they responded, timescale, quality of response, follow up etc. Was alarming – a HUGE 75% did not even bother to respond to a qualified “we want to give you some of our money for your product or service” enquiry, and the ones that did NEVER followed up. So, they got a big FU from us.
We all know how difficult it is to attract potential customers in the first place and these Nontreprenuers (my word for them) could not even be bothered to put in place a process to help their business. I sometimes wonder how they get any business at all. Most are looking for that business magic bullet, when in reality it’s obvious and right in front of them.
My last example of this came a little closer to home, when during a recent meeting a client of ours was talking about follow up and chose to focus on me and our company’s follow up. Now, I know we have systems in place and are pretty rigorous in sticking to them, however I began to wonder – had it worked? Bearing in mind that this person was our customer, I assumed that we must have done OK. Well, the story went that after an informal chat we had made regular contact, over an agreed period of time, with a flow of topical information suggestions and “saw this and thought of you” interactions via our K.I.T (Keep in Touch) system. Our client’s response was: “I had to engage with you just to stop you calling me all the time!” However, all joking aside, her comment simply translated as: I knew you would help me focus on the right things, as you already had that culture ingrained in your business.
There you have it; three examples that all took place in one month, demonstrating the power of follow up in our business, your business and your competitor’s business.
It is a sad indictment that we only have to do a little bit more that our competitors to stand out. The real crying shame is most of the entrepreneurs I have met over the last few years, that are probably reading this right now, are world class at their trade, skills, services or with the products they sell – they are passionate about what they do and spend a huge amount of time getting that part right. Then, along comes a company that is not so passionate, has inferior products and services but outsells our heroes time and time again and starts owning their space.
I am writing this the Thursday before The Entrepreneurs Circle’s National Event, where I will no doubt speak to a lot of you about your business. Some of you will be having a bumper month/year, some of you will be struggling and some of you will not actually know where they are (but that’s for another day). I am also sure the many a conversation will get around to winning and keeping customers and how much we are spending on lead bait, PPC and Facebook ads, the new free YouTube promotion and the… and the… and the… I can also guarantee that at some point I will be asked what I do, and for the fun of it, I might just say F U…