Last Updated: Jul 17, 2017
What’s the difference between businesses that grow and those that never get much beyond the startup stage? In a word, persistence. Here’s how you can take inactive former prospects and turn them into buying customers.
You get a request for product literature or a sample of your product and you send it within a day or so of getting the request. A week or two goes by and the prospect hasn’t placed an order. What do you do next?
If you are like many small businesses the answer is “nothing” and that is a big mistake.
Customers who request product literature or samples often have a genuine interest in making a purchase, but they may not need to purchase that item immediately. Thus, they look over what you send and then put it aside, planning to follow up at some point in the future.
Then a couple of months later their priorities shift. Suddenly, the product they were thinking about purchasing “sometime” becomes the product or service they need now. By this time, however, that first piece of literature or sample you sent may be filed, misfiled, buried on the bottom of a stack of non-urgent things to do, or even tossed out during an office cleanup campaign.
If that has happened, who is likely to get the sale? Assuming there are several competitors all selling very similar products or services at very similar prices, the vendor whose name is most familiar because they have made the most recent and/or frequent contacts with the prospect is likely to get the order.
Position your company to win those delayed sales by following up regularly for at least six months on all qualified sales leads. Make your initial follow-ups once every other week for the first six weeks if the prospect seems genuinely interested. After that, follow up about once a month. Your follow-ups don’t have to be elaborate or costly. A telephone call or follow up letter asking if you can provide additional information, reminders to check your web site for new information, and notices of special offers all are good ways to keep in touch and keep your name and product fresh in their mind.
About the author:
Janet Attard is the founder of the award-winning Business Know-How small business web site and information resource. Janet is also the author of The Home Office And Small Business Answer Book and of Business Know-How: An Operational Guide For Home-Based and Micro-Sized Businesses with Limited Budgets. Follow Janet on Twitter and on LinkedIn