Fear of rejection is something that is faced by sales people and entrepreneurs alike. Following up with prospective clients is one of the most important activities of small business owners. Entrepreneurs constantly put themselves out there, and no one is safe from the fear of rejection. They’re afraid the prospect is going to tell them, “Go away! Stop bothering me!” Remember that they’re not rejecting you; they’re rejecting your product or service.
- Does the person on the other end of the line – the one who is saying “no” – really know you?
- Does he know what you look like, what your life is like, what your dreams and aspirations are, what you do in your spare time, and who you are at your core? Of course not! Only your friends and family know that. Therefore, if this person doesn’t really know you, how can he be rejecting you personally? Be honest with yourself…he’s rejecting your product or service, not you.
You know you need to follow up with prospective clients, but you often find yourself putting it off. “I already called them three times,” you think to yourself. Or, “They never answer the phone anyway.” Or, “I hate hearing no.” Or, “I don’t want to bother them.” Or, “What do I say that’s new?”
It’s only natural to resist placing phone calls to prospects who didn’t return your last call, never seem to be there, may not be ready to buy, or might say they’re not interested. But here’s the good news. Calling prospects on the phone and asking them to hire you is not the only way to follow up! Yes, you can call your prospects on the phone, but you can also email them, send a letter or note by postal mail, fax them, overnight them a package, send a text message, or instant message them online. And those are just the different communication channels you might use. The type of messages you deliver can be much more varied than simply asking prospects to do business.
Consider the following 21 ways that you can follow up with your prospects via any communication channel you choose, in order to build a relationship, remind them of what you do, and present yourself as a valuable resource and expert in your field. Many of these follow-up approaches can also be used with potential referral sources and networking contacts.
- Ask if they have new questions about what you last discussed.
- Tell them about a book, article, or website that might help with what you talked about.
- Send a personal note with a copy of your brochure.
- Point them to a vendor who can solve one of their issues you don’t address.
- Tell them about an upcoming event that addresses an issue you think they have.
- Invite them to an event where you are a speaker, organiser, or sponsor.
- Call or email to ask what’s new in their world.
- Email a letter summarising what you last talked about and suggesting next steps.
- Send them an article (or link to one) that you have written.
- Send them a birthday card.
- Tell them about a special offer available if they act now.
- Offer them a free sample of what you can do for them.
- Send an announcement about a new development in your business.
- Refer them a prospect for their own business.
- Watch for their posts on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn and comment on them.
- Post something useful to a message board where they are members.
- Post a comment on their blog.
- Invite them to visit your updated website.
- Ask the person who introduced you to contact them and mention you again.
- Volunteer for an organisation where they also serve.
- Write a case study of an example of a client that you helped.
Following up consistently is one of the most productive marketing activities there is, but it won’t work if you don’t do it.