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Why it’s critical to follow up with potential customers at least five times

If you’re anything like me, then you probably spend a good chunk of your time on business development activities.

Yes, you might be out on site during the day, or at your desk working on projects, or meeting clients, but if you don’t keep new business coming in then eventually the work dries up.

And so because of this, we often think that we need to find ways to drum up more leads. We spend time on new marketing campaigns or perhaps we go out networking, or place an advert in a local publication, with the idea of bringing in more prospects.

But what if our time would be better spent elsewhere? What if we’re missing out on working with some of the leads we’ve already got?

Most people give up much too quickly when it comes to following up with people who’ve made enquiries. They might ring someone once, twice, or even three times, but after that most people will give up.

In fact, statistics show that 44% of people give up after following up with an enquiry just once.

When you compare that with the fact that 80% of sales needed five follow-ups before the customer came on board, that’s a lot of business that you could be missing out on if you only follow up once.

The other issue is that lots of businesses don’t have a system for following up. Unless you keep an accurate record of every enquiry that comes in, how do you make sure those leads stay on your radar?

There are some great tools out there to help you keep track – things like Pipedrive and HubSpot – but a simple spreadsheet with the details of who someone is, the date you last had contact with them, what you spoke about, and when you next need to get in touch is perfectly adequate.

If time pressures mean that you struggle to fit in following up with people, then you may want to consider delegating some of your tasks so that you can prioritise making regular follow-up calls. My PA helps with sending out marketing campaigns and updating our Facebook page, among other things, and this takes the pressure off me to do everything.

So there are two key things here:

1. Keep following up with your leads and prospects. Remember that 63% of people who ask for information from you will not start working with you for at least three months, and 20% of them will take more than 12 months to come on board. Staying in touch is critical.

2. In a similar vein, you also need to stay in touch with past and current clients. Regular meaningful contact (ideally something more than a generic Christmas card) keeps current customers happy, and for past customers if you stay in touch it means that when they need your services they’ll think of you.

It’s always a juggling act to stay on top of this kind of thing, but it saves you time in the long run, as you’ll need to spend less time and resources on generating new leads. It might take a few months for your follow-up system to have an impact on business, but when it does it’ll be worth it.

If you need a structural engineer for any of your current or upcoming projects, please do feel free to get in touch.

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