Earlier this week, I spoke with a customer who said that they didn’t buy a product with a particular company because their sales rep was too slow to follow-up on their e-mail requests. As a result, the customer decided to go with another product instead.
The obvious lesson here is that “showing up,” or rather being selected as a potential vendor with a customer is only going to get you in the door. Regardless of how hard you worked to get in that particular door with a customer, you still need to maintain continuous communications with your customer and find ways to give them the information that they need to make an informed purchase decision.
Here are some tried and true best practices for following-up that I’ve picked-up over the years in working in sales and B2B marketing:
1. Follow-up within 24 hours – This seems obvious but when a client sends a request (especially an RFP), follow-up with them right away to make sure you understand their turn-around time and information requirements. Make sure you meet all of their deadlines and requirements.
2. Stay top-of-mind – Even after you’ve sent the proposal (on time and with the right info) or are already working on a project for a customer, make sure you check-in with them on a regular basis to see how else you might help them. Providing valuable information via newsletters and social media is a great way to stay on their radar. It’s important to be a great resource for that customer, rather than just doing the work.
3. Find out why you weren’t on the buy – Even if you didn’t get selected for a customer’s purchase, it’s important to follow-up and find out why they didn’t decide to go with you. Perhaps you didn’t provide them with all of the information that they needed. Knowing why you missed out will help you with future proposals with that client and potentially with other clients.
Got a good tip for following-up with a customer? Please share your thoughts and I’ll add them to the list.