Let’s face it: client follow-up can be a taxing, time-consuming, emotionally draining experience. Sometimes, the very thought of reaching out to that pain-in-the-butt client can make you cringe.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, if you want to build a profitable, sustainable business, it can’t be this way. Client follow-up needs to be a regular practice in your business. And it needn’t be painful.
10 Reasons Why You are Probably Avoiding your Clients
(and Quick Solutions to See Fast Results)
#1: “I don’t like them.” – Fire ‘em! Get them out of your system. Create three client lists, labeled “A”, “B” and “C”. The A-listers are the cream of the crop, while the C-listers are the people that could pay you a king’s ransom and you’d still hate working with them. Drop them. Make room on your calendar for more of your B-list clients to move up to the A-list.
#2: “I don’t know what to say.” – Do some research! Review your past contacts with them and find a valid reason for contact. And no, “just checking in” doesn’t cut it. Your clients want to know that you care about them and their situation. A “check in” call is a cop-out that says you didn’t take the time to find out what matters to them. Review their past purchases and see if there’s anything new that you can offer that compliments what they’ve already purchased. Make knowing your clients’ business your business.
#3: “It’s been too long since our last contact.” – Apologize! Studies suggest that your clients lose 10% of their interest in you for each month you’re out of contact so in a year, they may have completely forgotten about you! That means it’s up to you to re-build the relationship and nothing builds bridges faster than a good old-fashioned apology. Tell your clients that you’ve been remiss in doing your client follow-up, and that you’re committed to re-earning their business, but only if you mean it. Again, those C-list clients? Not so much.
#4: “I’ve never done any follow up with them.” – Prioritize! If this is truly a customer you want to keep, contact is a must. It doesn’t have to be every day, mind you, but it should be regular. If you treated your best friends the way you treat this client, do you really think you’d stay friends for very long? Now, if this is a C-lister, well, you have my permission to let them dry up and blow away.
#5: “They never pick up when I call.” – It’s a sign! Now, before you jump all over me, it could be a sign of a couple of different things. First, they may not like you, in which case, if you really want their business, you’re going to have to figure out how to get on their A-list. Second, it could just be they’re not the phone type. In my home, we rarely answer the phone, but I’m never more than a few minutes from my email unless I’m sleeping or the Internet’s down. Try to reach them in the way they want to be reached and see if your results change.
#6: “I don’t want to sound pushy or desperate.” – Reality check! My experience has shown that most clients don’t hear from you nearly enough. Even if you called your best clients once a month, that’s only 12 calls a year. A teenage boy will spend hours in a single night on the phone with just one girl from his class. THAT is desperate, my friend.
#7: “I’m too busy for follow up.” – My bad! You obviously don’t need this kind of help because you have all the business you can handle from clients that you love. If that’s not the case, then let me shine a light for you: your clients ARE your business. You need to make time for them. I get that life happens and you can’t be available every waking hour of the day, but for the love of all things holy, keep in contact with your customers – or someone else will.
#8: “They’ll call me if the really need anything.” – Get real! How many times have you picked up the phone and said “Oh! I’m so glad you called, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about…” Yeah. That happens to the rest of us, too. It’s your job to make it easy for your Perfect-Fit Customers to say, “YES!” to your offers.
#9: “My house is too noisy.” – Get lost! Well, okay, maybe not lost, but hop in the car, or lock yourself in the bathroom, or ask a friend to watch the kids for a few minutes while you make some calls. Carve out some quiet time or get a noise-cancelling headset so that you can do your job (building connections and growing your business).
#10: “There are no good times for me to call. I work all day.” – Break time! Whether you’re commuting a long distance or taking a lunch break, you can find a few minutes to make a call or two. Alternatively, go back to reason #6 and find an alternate way to communicate with your clients (no texting and driving, okay?). Some prefer Facebook or email to a phone call. It’s your job to find out the best ways to reach your clients, including the best times of day.
It’s really up to you to make the most of your business contacts. Your clients are the lifeblood of your business. Failing to do follow up is like putting a tourniquet around your neck to stop your broken leg from bleeding. It constricts the flow (of money) in all the wrong ways and may ultimately cost you the life of your business.
Want more quick fixes and blunt business advice? Visit Lisa online at www.lisarobbinyoung.com!