Sunday, July 25, 2010

Importance of Follow-Up

image This article was written by Dennis Wright, SCORE Orange County Management Counselor

Not long ago my wife and I decided that we should do something on the slope at the edge of our property… something like removing all of the plants who were living (and thriving) there and putting in new plants that might also enjoy living (and thrive) there.

Given our new vision of grandeur I felt that it would be wise for us to hire a landscape designer / contractor and attempted to do so. After bidding the project though (I should add the $$$$ were considerable) the sales person and company management both failed to follow-up. Hard to believe, right?

Unfortunately this scenario is not uncommon. The old adage “a bird in hand is worth two in a bush” is applicable here… there I was, ready to buy, and all that was needed was a little push in the right direction; to be shown how wonderful the finished project would look, all without any physical pain or frustration on my part. Instead they were off chasing other new opportunities.

During the many years I worked in business to business sales I learned valuable lessons (sometimes the hard way) related to the importance of follow-up, lessons that can best be summed up by simply saying there is no substitute for regular contact before, during and after a sale. NONE.

Consider this:

Not every sale is made during the first attempt so there is significant value in being at the “head of the line” when a prospective customer begins to think about changing vendors. Regular follow-up helps to accomplish that.

You are building a relationship with a customer by staying involved throughout the process; from start to finish. Regular follow-up demonstrates that you care and minimizes the risk of something going astray.

There is always someone else trying to be at the “head of the line” when your customer or former customer begins to think about their next purchase. Regular follow-up after a sale goes a long way in terms of you remaining vendor of choice.

Nothing is more important than building a lasting relationship with customers, and it starts and ends with the amount of time and effort you devote to follow-up.

By the way, my wife also believes in regular follow-up, so in case you’re wondering, I have the slope that borders our property about half planted now and my work continues.