There’s no crying in baseball and there’s no “slipped through the cracks” in business follow-up with prospects and clients, external and internal.
Yet, time and again, entrepreneurs, executives, and professionals explain the cost of their failure to follow up with a prospect or client by saying, “They just slipped through the cracks.”
As if the prospect or client had caused the problem!
First of all, there’s no “slipped” in effective communication.
When you fail to do what you said you’d do, prospects and clients don’t slip away from you. They run. Today’s smart-phone-savvy consumers want answers now and results even faster. Disgruntled prospects and frustrated clients will quickly turn to receptive professionals who can be trusted to do what they say they’ll do. Wouldn’t you if you were intent on doing business, but an unreliable executive or salesperson got in the way?
And, there are no “cracks” either, just the pockets of more organized, efficient professionals.
The prospects and clients who you let down or ignore don’t abandon their plans, they abandon you, because you abandoned them. Their business transaction will still happen, just without you. The income or commission that could have been yours ends up in the pocket of the professional who followed through, earned trust, and enabled the client to achieve their goals.
Don’t kid yourself. When you say you’ll do something, then in the minds of over-stressed prospects and clients, you just made a promise. When you promise to do more than you deliver on—whether that’s failing to return phone calls, email information, or…you let down those who you need to earn trust from. You also let yourself down—now and in the future.
WYPt SELF-TEST: WHAT IS FAILURE TO FOLLOW UP COSTING ME?
Let one prospect “slip through the cracks” when you don’t follow up on emails, promises to call, or on anything you committed to do, and you’re the loser on many levels. As you read through the following list of repercussions of abandoning a prospect or client, use the average income or commission you earn on your typical preferred transaction to add up how much just one failure to follow up may cost you:
1. Lost commission for that first prospect or client transaction: $ ____________
2. Lost commission from subsequent referrals from that individual if they had been well-served by you (let’s say 2 more deals you won’t get): $ _____________ X 2 = $ ____________
3. Lost commission from that new client’s next transaction: $ ____________
4. Lost commission from future business from that client and future referrals: $ __________
5. Those un-followed-up-on prospects and clients will spread word of your failings to anybody who’ll listen. Every time your name or industry comes up, those disgruntled individuals will chime in with “promises were made.” You may never know how many more clients and referrals you lose. Or, social media may reveal exactly how wide ranging the prospect’s or client’s negative reach is. Be optimistic and only dock yourself two deals here, but add to this amount your advertising budget for counteracting your proven bad service rating:
$ __________ X 2 = $ ___________ + $ _____________ = $ _____________
What’s your TOTAL COST OF A FAILED FOLLOW UP? $ _____________
Even If your average income or commission per deal were only $3000, this list could represent a loss of $21,000 plus the cost of advertising that is undermined by word of mouth and social media activity. Failure to follow up is expensive!
Since not following up is a bad habit, those who do it once will repeat this self-defeating behavior again and again.
This means your total from one missed deal multiplied by how many times a year you drop the ball with a prospect or client is…. Do yourself a favor and do the “bad habit” math: $ __________ .
Attach a dollar figure to follow through, so you always relate the promises you make—from phone calls, texts, or emails to research or marketing—to your bottom line. This enables you to move from “it’s only a phone call or email” to making business decisions about opportunities to lose or to earn credibility and income.
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