Roy Henderson introduced our Program Speaker Wanda Allen. Wanda is a speaker, coach, author of two books and business owner. She offers intensive training in business development, client relationships, and customer service. Wanda Allen’s theme was the importance of, and the what, how and why of “following-up” on business leads. She stressed that is all about relationships, and relationship building. Most important is having a “system” of maintaining relationships and following-up.
Most of us are not good at following-up. The results of our struggle are losing business, quitting too soon in the process, carrying negative emotions and having a “thin” pipeline of new clients. The system she proposes is easy: getting back to fundamentals. The elephant in the room is the STRESS of not following up. We feel embarrassed, frustrated and discouraged, and guilty and regretful. In contrast, doing follow up on a regular basis consistently makes us feel composed, encouraged, good about ourselves, and calm.
To do this we need to change our mindset: Change our self-talk of “not wanting to do it”, to a message of MUST DO IT. We have so much fear about following up. But we need to get out of our comfort zone to push forward. She identified a list of fears which result in fear-based thinking: the fear or appearing too pushy, the fear of appearing desperate, the fear of now knowing what to say, the fear of not knowing the outcome, and the fear of rejection. For each of these fears, replace the fear with a positive message: Be respectful and interested, following up is necessary, use simple communication, and understand being told “no” is ok. You need to follow up, because the prospect will not tell you when they are ready.
Another important strategy is to use a CRM program or app: CRM stands for Customer Relationship Manager. Don’t use a notebook, sticky notes, emails, Excel or Word, and especially do not rely on your memory. There are hundreds of CRMs to choose from, but choose one that is simple and straightforward to use. She uses one called Pipedrive.
A third strategy is to make following-up a top priority. Stop wasting time and losing money and business. The goal is to build relationships by staying in touch, and this is part of your daily routine. As an exercise, think of three people you need to follow up with, and contact all three by the close of business tomorrow. She believes that the failure to follow-up afflicts 79% of people. 90% of people follow up twice and then give up. But the statistics show that you need to follow-up five or more times to get a sale, as 80% of sales made required five or more contacts.
Wanda told the story of the tree cutter working so hard he has no time set aside to sharpen his ax. The acronym SYSTEM is how you sharpen your ax. You need to incorporate the System into your daily routine to Save Yourself Time Energy and Money. By doing this you will avoid being guided by emotions. So get organized to be efficient, consistent and enjoy the “flow of ease”. Ask yourself, of your last six prospects, how many are now clients?
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