Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Art and Science of FOLLOWUP.

One of the aspects of life that continues to amaze me, is HOW people (both sales and non-sales) follow up with each of us.

Let me define what "follow up" means.

It means, TAKING THE EXTRA STEP, BEYOND NORMAL COMMUNICATION, to acknowledge -- to check in, say thank you, or generally just, CARE.

Follow up takes effort.

It is an art form.

Car Dealers, send you a form letter in the mail, after they have serviced your car. They want to find out if you are satisfied with their service departments work.

Real Estate agents, (good one's) send a basket or some small token to THANK YOU, for selling or buying a house through them.

Dentists, send you a follow up card to REMIND YOU to come in for a 6 month checkup.

Couples send you a thank you note, to acknowledge a gift that you gave them for their wedding.

These are all different reasons to follow up.

But, in some large or small way -- following up, in your own style - is a form of Advertising.

You Advertising and Brand one thing.......YOURSELF.

When you (or your company) follow's up correctly - you BRAND yourself - and position yourself uniquely.

YOU CREATE YOUR OWN BRAND.

Some of the best follow up techniques I have seen, have the following similarities.

* they are timely
* they are personal
* they are sincere
* they require effort
* they are followed WITH ADDITIONAL FOLLOW UP.

Following Up is the ART of communication. It is the beginning step in a long process to differentiate WHO YOU ARE.

I will share something with you. I recently completed (what I think to be) a strong business plan, for a company that I co-founded.

Under the "Sales and Marketing" piece of the plan (and budget) I left a line item, and specific ways that I plan on having my staff, and myself follow up with prospects.

More than the actual DOLLAR VALUE itself, it SEPERATES ME, and my vision from other plans that potential investors look at.

One of the recipients of my idea commented:

"Andy, I've seen many Business Plans over the years, but no one has gone to such great efforts to detail out in a business plan, the FOLLOW UP budget, and technique with prospects...."

You see, I use follow up to show I'm unique, and somewhat different, than your average person trying to start up a company.

Three things you probably have at your desk -- and all three are part of Version #1 of followup....for good and average people.

1) phone
2) email
3) personalized stationary (not company letterhead)

What is your NUMBER 4?

Number 4, is what will, DIFFERENTIATE YOU, IN LIFE.

Think about it, and if you feel comfortable, share some of your BEST FOLLOWUP stories in the comments section below.

Number 4 is KEY -- and one of the attributes that take people from, GOOD TO GREAT in their respective field.
Andy

(PS> Thanks to my readers who commented in the previous post -- on "Showering" -- there is some great insights and opinions -- check it out if you have not.)

3 Comments:

Anonymous jason strauss said...

Your number 4 Andy is Passion.......

12:00 PM  
Anonymous The Writer said...

Follow-up?

The best lesson I learned in follow up techniques for business benefits was from an experience in my personal life.

A friend died, tragically - as in, no-one expected him to. His widow was overwhelmed with messages of support and kind words, immediately after the event and just before the funeral. That's follow-up. I sent similar thoughts, gentle words - as anyone would. And i sent a message a week or so later, just saying 'thinking of you.'

Then, I got on with life - and presumed she would, too.

One day, about eight weeks later, I happened across a photograph of her husband - and dropped her a line to ask in general how she was doing.

I was the only person who had made any contact with her, for weeks. Her reaction was phenomenal.

In business, I translated this. When you want something (be it to sell or to communicate), a follow-up strategy is vital - but WHEN you follow up, is as important as the fact you do.

It's all very well following-up, but if you actually care - then a message sent a long time after the fact, will have a far greater impact.

A DM campaign I ran solicited a good response - not great - but good. The follow-up was carried out strategically, and we had a little more response.

The "actually, we really love you" letter that went, three months later, "and don't mind if you don't respond, but - hey - is it OK if we stay in touch...?" -- had a huge return rate. People believed, because we really cared.

Try it.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

couldnt agree more... I send thank you notes for everything from business to personal and i am always amazed at the respones i get!!! What is amazing is that the reason i do it is because my mother taught me that its "good manners" that get you ahead in life!! Thanks MOM!

4:55 PM  

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