Making contact or even making a sale after an initial call or meeting is only the beginning. Whether you’re working to keep that client on or if you’re looking to close a sale, you’ll have to reach out. If you’re not following up properly, you’ll be just another spammer in someone’s inbox or you may come off as pushy. It’s important to consider how to use the tools at hand: calls, emails, meetings, even social media to stay consistent, to forge deeper relationships and even to entertain.
Your aim in marketing yourself should be more than to simply remind the prospect that you sell, say, auto insurance. Each time you touch base, you must deliver value or else you’ll become a nuisance to avoid.
Make it a point to have a compelling reason behind the call or text, something you forgot to mention that is important or relevant, or a positive tip that relates to a prior conversation. Maybe another client has a success story you feel relates to the prospect’s situation. Whatever it is, without a real reason (other than a desire to make a sale) you’ll be doing nothing more than pestering people.
Here are some tools that may be helpful in furthering your goal without any missteps.
Take Copious Notes. You should always be taking notes when you talk with a client over the phone. You should take notes even if they come to see you in person. It’s not rude. On the contrary, it shows you’re being very attentive.
Taking notes is one of the more considerate things you can do: You’re saving the client or prospect time by catching up on prior conversations in reading these notes before every call and every meeting. You won’t be making them repeat themselves. Both parties will be on the same page.
Of course, you can also take notes right after your meetings. Just make sure to listen very attentively and write down important details as soon as the conversation is over, before you forget. Relying on memory is tricky, even trickier the more your business grows.
Just as it was in school, your notes hold no value if you do not use them. Make sure to review your notes right before making a call. You can create a bridge between each follow up by referring to past conversations (“The last time we talked, you…”). It’s a nice way to pick up where you left off.
Your notes should also include personal details. For instance, let’s say you were helping a client buy life insurance for her mother but before that happened, she passed away. You don’t want to later email her to set up a time to discuss buying life insurance for her mother. It’s hard to juggle so much information about so many people. Avoid awkward situations by refreshing your memory before each interaction.
Emails. Email templates are fine for following up but the most successful professionals always personalize the emails they send. Otherwise, your notes start to feel like spam. Making sure the note customizes the name alone is not enough.
Again, you can start off with “The last time we talked…” if it works. Whatever you do, never send vague emails without merit (“Hi, I’m just following up. Wondering if you have time to talk today.”). This doesn’t help you. Where’s the value? How about, “The last time we talked, I quoted you car insurance. I wanted to talk to you about a 20% discount if you bundle it with your home insurance.” Now you’ve added value for the consumer to give you some time out of their busy day for a follow-up call. You’ve also increased your premium potential with the offer.
Newsletters. These are an extension of email marketing and can include people you weren’t successful in making a sale with. You’re simply sending the email to many people at once. Hopefully, you’re sending out newsletter blasts infrequently, maybe quarterly or seasonally.
It’s always a good way to keep disinterested people in the loop in this way, because they may decide to work with you in the future. Existing clients will also stay connected and will grow more knowledgeable about all your offerings.
In a newsletter, there are usually more graphics than in a regular email. Newsletters are also full of offers and initiatives that may benefit your clients. As long as you don’t abuse your email privileges (sending too many may end up getting you placed in spam boxes), newsletters are a great way to spread important information fast and to many people at once. You may want to:
- Tell consumers about products or services they may not be aware you sell. Explain how these products/services benefit them.
- Show a little bit of your personality too, maybe a short opening letter with a photo.
- Include important links to articles that may be relevant to the products you sell, ideally pointing back to your website.
- Use your logo in all of your newsletters, which may end up going beyond the folks you mailed them to!
- Always include links to your social media accounts. Encourage clients to like or follow those pages too. Social media is just one more platform for you to bring awareness to what you have to offer.
- Highlight your clients whenever you can in newsletters. What a client has to say about you matters so much more than anything you say. If possible, use a photo of that person with brief copy on how you served that person. It also shows that you see your clients as important individuals, not just another sale. Use videos whenever you can. There's nothing like a genuine testimonial from a real person!