Follow-up is a really critical component for the success of any direct sales consultant. Being able to connect with your customers and followers is how you keep them coming back to you. There’s a reason you hear so many experts say “the fortune is in the follow-up” and it’s true for any business.
The problem though, is that when you don’t follow-up on a regular and consistent basis, you leave the door wide open for another consultant to come in and snag your sales. It’s not because they’re stealing your customers or that your customers are leaving you on purpose.
What happens most often is that people love your products and then don’t remember who they got them from or how to get ahold of you. They then go looking for a consultant who sells the products and order from the person they find first.
Let’s look at an example of how easily that can happen. Let’s say you were at a tradeshow handing out samples. You give a nice lady a sample and she carries on her way down the hall. A little while later she comes back and says she has to buy the full size product of the sample you gave her. Wahoo! Your strategy worked.
Fast forward a few months without any follow-up. The same lady is running out of her product and wants to order more. In all likelihood, she probably doesn’t even know your name, let alone how to get ahold of you. You may have given her a business card at the show, or even a catalogue or brochure, but after 3 months, the chance of her still having it is slim to none.
In an effort to find someone who sells the product, she goes online and ends up ordering from the company site directly or whichever consultant happens to pop up in her search first. Well that’s a bummer, you just lost a sale from a customer you already had! (Unless you’ve been working on your blog, and with some luck it’s you).
Now let’s look at that same tradeshow scenario. Let’s pretend that 2 days after the trade show, you sent her a follow-up email (after getting her permission on your contact form, of course) to thank her for stopping by your booth and asking how she likes her new products. Maybe she responds, maybe she doesn’t. Either way, it’s no problem.
Two weeks after the show, you follow-up again. Now she’s had a chance to really try the product. You want to make sure she’s still happy, and offer value by letting her know that the return/refund deadline is coming up if there is something she is unhappy with. Maybe she responds, maybe she doesn’t. Either way, it’s no problem.
From that point on, every month you send her an email. Sometimes you share product tips/tricks, sometimes you offer coupons, for her birthday month you wish her a Happy Birthday.
Pro Tip: Keep your emails to a mix of purposeful and promotional information just like you would on any other platform.
Fast forward to where she needs to reorder her product. Now, because of your follow-up strategy, she probably does remember your name because you’ve popped up in her inbox every month since the show. Even if she doesn’t, she knows that your contact info is sitting right in her inbox. All she has to do is find the email and she can reorder directly from you.
Even better, you know that the average amount of time it takes before someone needs to re-order is 3 months, and in your 3 month follow-up email, you ask if she’s ready to reorder before she runs out. That way she doesn’t even have to go looking for your contact information. It’s called offering service, and it’s why the fortune is in the follow-up.
So that all sounds great, but how in the world would you find the time to do that for every customer? By automating your follow-up process. You find a software that gives you the flexibility you want and you use it.
The emails you write to each customer can be templated. Your standard follow ups, your birthday email, your tips and tricks for certain products. Take the time to write one great email template for each email you want/need to send. The software program you choose is going to be able to process templated emails. It may even be able to send them to your customers on a schedule based on criteria you set.
Automating your follow-up probably isn’t going to be an inexpensive tool in your business. But it will very likely be a worthwhile tool. Before you dive into any software, spend a few minutes determining if it’s worth it to your business. You can learn how to do that with our Tools vs. Time blog post.
There are several platforms available that might work for you. MailChimp and FIITFU are good places to start. You are working hard to gain new customers. Don’t lose them because you don’t have the time or energy to spend on follow-up. Automate the process. It will pay for itself in the end.