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Marketing: How to Win More Sales with Less Effort
A study done by the Association of Sales
Executives revealed that 81% of all sales happens on or after
the fifth contact. If you’re a small business owner and you’re
only doing one or two follow-ups imagine all the business you’re
Not following up with your prospects and
customers is the same as filling up your bathtub without first
putting the stopper in the drain!
But don’t be
disheartened if you’re among the 90% of business owners I talk
to that don’t do any follow up. The good news is you have ample
room for profitable improvement.
creates a predictable and profitable stream of prospects and
customers that buy. Small businesses that capture leads and
follow-up with them enjoy higher conversion rates and a higher
percentage of referrals than those that don’t.
asking many small business owners the reason they don’t follow
up I often hear responses such as, "I don’t have the sales staff
to chase down all our leads", or "We’re usually too busy to do a
lot of follow up." These responses automatically set off red
flags that tell me that they lack a systematic process for
The problem is not that they don’t have
the capacity to follow up with prospects, it’s that they don’t
have the systems in place to do it.
a Good Follow Up System Look Like?
follow up marketing system should have three attributes.
It should be systematic, meaning that the follow up process is
done the same way every time.
It should generate
consistent, predictable results.
It should require
minimal physical interaction to make it run, meaning it should
be able to run on autopilot.
Sounds like a dream come
true for most small business owners doesn’t it? Not only can it
be done, it’s being done every day. The secret to "follow-up
marketing" is to make it automatic so that you don’t have to
lift a finger but the job still gets done.
technology it’s simpler than ever. Automating your follow-up
processes gives you more time to work "on" your business rather
than "in" your business.
Three Types of Follow Ups
There are three types of people you should be following up with,
suspects (people in your target marketplace), prospects (people
who have responded to your marketing but have not purchased, and
customers (people who have purchased something from you.)
Each follow up message and offer will be different for each type
of person. With suspects, you’ll want to entice them to call you
or visit your store / office.
With prospects, you need
to persuade them to make their first purchase. And with
customers, you want to convince them to come back and do more
business with you and give your referrals.
hardest type of person to follow up with is a suspect because
they haven’t shown any interest yet in a pool or hot tub and you
usually don’t have their contact information.
not true with prospects and customers. You not only know who
they are, but you should already have their contact information.
And if you follow up with your customers with consistency you’ll
find that they will help you turn your suspects into prospects
and prospects into customers for you through referrals.
Your Follow Up
Your principal follow up marketing tools are the telephone,
direct mail, and email. Many pool and hot tub business owners
make the mistake of jumping right on the telephone to follow up;
however, most prospects don’t want a pushy sales message right
away and most prospects have been trained to consider anyone who
calls up to be a pushy salesperson.
Instead, you should
try to develop a relationship of trust with your prospect by
quickly sending informational items such as special reports,
audio CDs, or videos before you make a phone call.
Remember to always include a "next-step-offer" to accompany your
educational materials. If the next step is to visit the store,
then entice them with an appropriate offer or if the next step
is to call you, entice your prospect to call you immediately.
People move through the buying process in baby steps, especially
when considering buying high-ticket items such as hot tubs or
pools. Your offer should always help them take the next step.
Your Follow Up Sequence
The power of your follow
up will lie in your follow up sequence. Your follow up sequence
is a series of communications with your prospect that are
"linked" together, with each communication building on the
For instance, you might start your
second letter by saying, "10 days ago I sent you a letter..."
You might also consider stamping the message, "2nd Notice" on
the envelope to let people know this is the second time you’ve
Referencing the previous communication
links what you’re saying with what you’ve already said and
reminds your prospect that you care enough to continue the
Usually, when doing direct mail you should
include three to five mailings spaced out about seven days
apart. When using a sequential autoresponder you can have as
many follow ups as you want because using email is basically
free (that’s why you always want to get a prospects email
One of my clients has over 20 follow-ups in
his autoresponder sequence that go out over a six month period.
Each sequence should follow a logical argument and you might
consider bolstering the offer with each communication using a
deadline as a motivator to act now.
As an example, in
the third communication you could say, "I’m surprised you
haven’t taken me up on my generous offer. What’s holding you
back?" Or consider saying, "I’ve written you three times and you
still haven’t taken me up on my offer so I’m going to pull out
all the stops and make you an offer you simply can’t refuse."
Notice how the language always links the previous communication
and increases the boldness of the offer. It’s the same type of
conversation you might have in a regular sales conversation.
How to Put Your Follow Up Marketing System on Autopilot
What I’m about to reveal to you is the key to developing a
powerful follow up marketing system because it overcomes the
number one reason most businesses don’t follow up.
must automate your follow up system as much as possible so that
there are few, if any, physical interactions from your employees
with the system. It’s the required physical interactions (i.e.
printing letters, sending emails, inputting leads etc.) where
99% of all the breakdowns happen in well-intentioned follow up
To automate your follow-ups you
should consider using robotic marketing systems and outsourcing
any manual interactions to a dedicated service.
instance, to capture your leads you should consider using a
toll-free automated recorded message system that captures your
prospects contact information and automatically transcribes it
and sends your leads to you in a spreadsheet every morning via
If you’re using a direct mail follow up system
(and you should be), find a fulfillment house to do the mailings
for you. To find a fulfillment house, simply go to your local
printer and ask them to refer you to a fulfillment house in the
Now step back for a moment and see the power of
what I’ve just revealed to you. Imagine running an ad, having
your prospect call up and give their contact information via
your recorded message system.
Then having your leads
automatically sent to your fulfillment house via email, after
which your prospect receives a five-sequence direct mail package
containing your most persuasive marketing message -- without you
lifting one finger!
You can set up the exact same type
of "hands-free" follow up marketing system using an email
autoresponder system. Your prospect will not only be receiving
your direct mail messages, but you can insert your email
messages in between your mailings.
What About Calling
to Follow Up?
You’ll notice that I didn’t say anything about calling your
prospect. That’s because you want your prospect to have already
received your educational marketing messages and have most of
their questions answered before they call you. An educated
prospect is your best prospect.
They already know why
you’re different, what your value proposition is, and how you’re
uniquely qualified to meet their needs. In essence, they’ve
pre-qualified themselves before you ever have to spend time
physically speaking to them.
This drastically reduces
the sales cycle and increases your conversion rate because you
have positioned your small business to be their only logical
Follow-up marketing will boost your closing
rate and dramatically increase your customer satisfaction.
Following up with systematic processes allows you to leverage
your salespeople’s time and enhance their productivity, which
will result in more sales with less effort and isn’t that what
you want? Start winning more sales today by implementing your
own follow-up marketing system.
About the author:
David Frey is the author of the best-selling manual, "The Small
Business Marketing Bible" and the Senior Editor of the "Small
Business Marketing Best Practices Newsletter." To get your free
lifetime subscription visit