Why Aren't You Following Up?

***After you read this post, be sure to visit me at my new home here.***

In my post The Fortune is in the Follow-Up, I shared how long I feel you should follow up with a qualified prospect. The short answer: until. Head over there in a couple of minutes to get a handle on your fortune, but first let's discuss what's getting in your way.

New short answer: you.

Sometimes the question isn't how long to follow up or even how to follow up ... the real question is, "Why aren't you following up?"

There are a few reasons I've discovered in my coaching practice that people fail to follow up. The funny thing is, the reasons aren't all that valid. They are a smoke screen for what's really going on in a person's mind, and one layer deeper than that, their belief system.

Here are the reasons you're not following up and following through, and how to stop what's stopping  you:

  • You're afraid. There is a possibility, even with qualified potential clients, you're going to get rejected. You are going to hear no, and you're going to hear it a lot. The only time to get upset about a "no" is when the person says "No" ... and ... "You're ugly." Then you can get offended, and tell your prospect their mother would not be very proud of them. But seriously now, you need to not only get used to hearing no, you need to hear no about a million and a half times a day. Or at least a dozen times a day. Let me short-hand it for ya: the more you hear no, the more often you get to hear "YES!" You increase the odds by increasing the number of times you ask. I get it, I really do ... you're afraid of hearing no, think you're probably going to hear no, and have other things to do. But you need to get over it and get on with it ... it being your follow-up.
    Nobody has a better handle on no than the authors of "Go for No" Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz, so hop over to Amazon.com and download it right now. {I'll wait.}
  • You're "too busy." Alright, I've had about enough of this excuse, so I'm going to call bullshit right now. About every day one of my clients says to me, "I just didn't have the time to do 'X', because, because because." Here's the truth: you have all of the time you need to do everything you need and want to do. You're just procrastinating, doing tasks and activities that don't get accomplish anything real, and that's not getting you what you want, now is it? Once you know someone {and/or their company} meets your criteria for revenue, you've got to put time on your calendar to call them, email them, send them gifts, presents or bribes. Do whatever it takes, but follow-up and follow-up in a timely fashion.
  • You're waiting until the "right time." When would that be, exactly, since you're not reaching out to your prospect? How could you possibly know when they're ready, and, what if when they're ready, they don't even remember you have what they want? That would be tragic! You must stay in regular, positive touch until they are ready. I will say this: their timing is very rarely your timing. You want new clients and revenue like, yesterday, and unfortunately you will have to wait on some folks. Let their right time coincide with a call or email from you and that's when the magic will happen.
  • You've hit your success ceiling. This one's a biggie. You will never exceed the internal beliefs you hold about what's possible for you. If you find yourself making about the same year after year, wanting and hoping for more but never quite reaching the next level, this is a strong indicator your self-esteem and psychology could use some work. You have to believe something is possible for you before it could ever happen for you. I suggest you do some regular {daily} self-improvement. If you haven't read the classics, like Think & Grow Rich, or Psycho-Cybernetics, start with those. Then head here for a list of some of my favorites. As your confidence soars, your follow-up avoidance will literally melt away and what what once hard becomes easy ... including follow-up.
You owe it to yourself, and those you can help through your products and services, to be in touch and stay in touch. Follow-up until ...

I promise you'll enjoy the fruits of your labor as much as your clients enjoy them.

You May Also Want to Read:

RANT: Where Has Real Customer Service Gone?

***After you read this post, be sure to visit me at my new home here.***

My husband and I LOVE sushi, so sushi is naturally what we wanted to have for lunch on our 5th anniversary last week. We headed to our regular Austin stop, Sushi Zushi. Our server brought our drinks and proceeded to trip and spill my husband's Coke all over him, his white shirt, shorts, and iPhone.

Although he apologized profusely and moved us to a different table, when he brought the bill, it included all of our food and drink, Coke and all. No discount. No complimentary edamame. Nothing.

When I asked why we were paying for a drink that was spilled all over my husband {and resulted in a hefty dry-cleaning bill, a trip home to change, and missed productive time}, he just mumbled something and walked away. No bueno.

In addition, we've recently stopped going to Sugar Mama's Bake Shop. The goodies are fabulous. The customer service is awful. No less than a dozen times we've left the store {yes, we have a high bad customer service pain tolerance} and said, "Great stuff. Bad service." The owner responded to my tweet, and promised a few free cookie sandwiches. Tempting, but we would still have to deal with her staff. No thanks.

Where has the good customer service gone? I think "bad customer service" or "barely-there customer service" has become the norm, so much so that if someone even smiles or is the least bit accommodating, it's like a miracle has occurred. Why is that?

Here's what will happen as a result of that unfortunate incident at Sushi Zushi and our multiple disappointing trips to Sugar Mama's:

  • This blog.
  • The loss of our at least once-a-week visit to Sushi Zushi. We eat lunch or dinner there at least once a week, and usually once a week I meet clients there. No more. The same with Sugar Mama's.
  • I'll find another place to get my sushi fix. And I'm going to learn to make a rockin' chocolate chip cookie sandwich.
I conduct a seminar called "Exceptional Business Courtesy," which is good customer service on steroids. I emphasize how to create an incredible experience that brings people back again and again, and makes them absolutely have to tell everyone about my clients, their business and their experience. I think the near future will result in companies taking a hard look at what keeps people coming back to their establishments, both professional services and retail, and implementing better customer service. At least I certainly hope so.

What do you think? Will it get better or keep getting worse? 

The Fortune is in the Follow-Up

***After you read this post, be sure to visit me at my new home here.***

Here's a common situation:

You've connected with a potential client, explained your services, and they seem excited to move forward. They even requested a proposal, and promise to review it and get back to you post-haste.

Then, nothing.

Weeks, even months, go by without a word ... no reply to emails, no returned phone calls, total radio silence.

What should you do? I say, stay in the game. The fortune is found in your follow up. Follow up and continue to follow up until one of four outcomes has occurred:

  1. They die.
  2. They go out of business.
  3. They send you a cease-and-desist letter.
  4. They hire you.

Look, your prospective client is being ... well, rude. Rather than say, "This isn't a good time." Or, "You're too expensive." Or, "I'm still working to get approval," most prospects say nothing. They are probably thinking, "I need to answer," but instead don't until they have a yes or some kind of definitive answer. It's a bummer, but it's reality.

You may follow up for months, even years. If you know for sure you can help your prospect, you owe it to them and to yourself to continue to develop the relationship until they engage you. Here is an excellent article with stats that will encourage you {thanks Doug Rawady!}.

Best wishes for your continued success!