A local Chamber of Commerce recently hosted my speech on the topic of how to tell a “Signature Story.” It’s a topic that I feel passionate about and my enthusiasm must have been contagious. The audience was engaged and lively and afterwards many chamber members spoke with me about their Signature Story ideas along with a brief synopsis of their company’s product and service offerings. I invited these chamber members to follow up with me. What a fun time!
When I returned to my office, more chamber members, e-mailed me about their company and the products and services that they offered. I replied to every chamber member with my interest level along with a suggestion for future follow up. And that is where the story ends. Why? Because almost no one followed up – that’s why.
I said almost no one. There was one chamber member who did follow up and his efforts were rewarded. How? He gained a new business relationship – with my company.
Had more chamber members followed up they might also have been rewarded similarly. My company is always looking for value-added service providers; however follow up is required to get my attention. My travel schedule keeps me on the road often so I need a little nudging along the way. For those who are persistent, tenacious and clever – there is a reward. For those who give up after the first call or e-mail, there is nothing.
In this difficult economy, I have been very fortunate because my company’s narrow niche enables my services to stand out. I have the benefit of being a big fish in a small pond. But I still can’t assume that new business will always come to me. I have to keep searching for new relationships by following up two, three, four or more times. One time after following up with a prospect for the sixth time, she said, “Thank you so much for not giving up because we need your services.” Needless-to-say, I won this new business.
Follow up is one of the most basic sales and customer service tactics. I urge you to persevere with tenacity and tact and keep following up. Tough economies require a “back to basics” approach to weather the storm.