I’ve been “courted” recently by a company trying to win my business. After repeated attempts to contact me, I finally acquiesced and responded to an email… only because I had a very specific need at that moment, and I suspected they could help. Once we talked and I learned more about their capabilities, I actually became excited about working with them on my upcoming project. Unfortunately, their capabilities did not include follow-up skills, because although my contact indicated he would get back to me with additional options, he never did.
This situation got me thinking that I – and my business – must not be very important to this vendor. It’s disturbing that this person worked so diligently to get my attention, and then once he did, he seemed to forget about me completely. I have money to spend, and nowhere to spend it – at least for now. Luckily for me, there are many more vendors in the sea.
Do you think any of your customers feel unimportant to you? How frequently do you follow-up with your contacts? Do you have a communication plan in place to stay top of mind, even when an active deal is not on the table?
Research indicates that salespeople who stay top of mind with potential buyers and follow-through on next steps typically realize more success than their lazier counterparts. Why? Because most purchases aren’t made at the initial point of contact. Chilton Research found that over 60% of buyers making a large purchase wait in excess of 7 months to go through with the deal:
- 15% - Bought within the first three months
- 24% - Bought within four to six months
- 34% - Bought within seven to twelve months
- 27% - Bought more than twelve months later
What are these customers doing for months on end? They are researching their options, checking out your competitors, and figuring out where they can get the best deal.
So, what can you do to stay top of mind?
- Develop a communication plan for each prospect and customer. This can be as simple as a calendar reminder to call or email your contact once a month, or it might include a social media outlet to stay in touch.
- Bring value to every interaction. Don’t just call and ask about the weather; present new market insights or research, for example, to demonstrate your brilliance!
- Use time together wisely. Ask discovery questions to learn more about their business… a lot may have changed since your last conversation!
- Always communicate your next steps. Let your contact know that you will be reaching next month to check-in with them.
- Follow-up and follow-through! Do what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it!
If you do all of these things, you’ll be top-of-mind (without being bothersome) and poised to win the deal.
As for my upcoming project, I am definitely searching for a new vendor who keeps me top of mind.