Why it’s not the big FU. In this case, FU means Follow Up. How do you follow up with your potential clients? With your current clients? With past clients? What…you don’t? Why not?
After all the sales process doesn’t stop after you make a sale. It’s a continuous cycle that is ever-evolving and changing yet the steps have remained the same since the beginning. The only thing that has truly changed is HOW we communicate with our clientele with our delivery methods.
I was recently introduced to a newcomer at a wedding industry convention. He asked me for some ideas on sales follow up, specifically bridal shows. This is the genesis of the concept for this article, and what follows below is the advice I gave him.
First, all trade shows, in my opinion, are NOT created equal. It’s up to you as the business owner/advertiser to decide if that show is worthy of your investment or not. How? Ask around to fellow vendors. What shows have been helpful to them? What kind of business do they run from a size and service standpoint? Find a like-minded business in your market. Take the owner out to lunch and ask why they choose the vehicles they choose to advertise in. Their answers may surprise you. Oh…and bring a referral or an idea they can use to help their business with you. Givers gain.
Next, look at the size of the shows. How many potential customers attend?
This number will be different from the total numbering attendees so be sure you understand the numbers before signing on the dotted line. If you are going for volume and an inexpensive service mentality than a show with a killer marketing piece and several hundred potential clients in a large space may be for you. If you are more higher-end focused on wanting to build quality relationships then a smaller venue with more times with those potential clients would be the best way to go. Another great question to ask is this: How many of each vendor is allowed in the show? This can also help you understand who the show caters to.
OK…now you’ve picked the show. Remember, it’s not Follow Up here…it’s Follow Through. Do what you said you will do and actually contact them. Studies show the vast majority of vendors who attend trade shows do VERY LITTLE follow up. Stand out by following through.
Now how do you follow through? Clue: Ask them at the show. Have brides sign up by typing their info into a form right in your CRM or spreadsheet in your booth or on your iPad. This eliminates misreading someone’s handwriting and ensures your message gets where it needs to go. Since this was a bridal show, I advised him he should ask the brides when they got engaged and what they have for other vendors and take good notes. This can help you know where they are in the sales process and when would be good to follow up with them.
Brides with dates two years out or more are separated differently for me than brides who are looking for things within a year.
Now based upon how the potential clients want you to follow up, set a schedule that works for THEM, not you. Once the date arrives that they are ready to hear from you, put them in your cycle with unique touches designed to help them with how your product or service solves the problem it does for them with different touches from you via email, phone calls, snail mail and Facebook remarketing. Your communication must be respectful of their time and conversational. Write how you speak. Use words that will make her or him WANT to read more. Double-check the times of day you are calling and see if it’s convenient for them or not.
Lastly, be real. I often joke with people at trade shows that half of the information in their bags will end up being thrown out just days later or forgotten in a corner somewhere. People relate to real. By striking up a conversation and really seeking to help them you can cut through the hustle-bustle and sales tension of a show and get down to what really matters…helping them get what they need. After all…that’s all sales truly is. Find a need and fill it.