Take stairs

Are you a business owner, a sales executive or do you know someone who is?

The secret to increase revenues for any business person is based on two habits.  Nearly 10 years ago I read an article that helped put my mind at ease about where the money is in any sales process.  It shared how follow up in business is the secret.  But not just any follow up, as the late Chet Holmes would say, “Pigheaded follow up.”

For years I have been known to be relentless in my persistence with follow up to people.  I would call and call, and email and mail and visit, until I was told “go away”, “stop” or “thank you for your continued follow up.”  I figured if the person was worth calling the first time, then why wouldn’t they be worth multiple follow ups.

This mindset stemmed from my stepfather teaching me the difference between a professional and an amateur.  He would say, “Do you know what the difference is between a Professional and an Amateur?”  To which I would reply, after hearing it a few times…  “Patience and Persistence.”

Professionals get money for what they like doing.  Amateurs don’t.  Nothing wrong with either, only that one has an expectancy for how to be and the dependency on others.

So if you are looking to be a “Pro”, you need to develop these 2 skills:  Patience and Persistence

Patience is pretty straight forward.  Allow for things to take time.  You wouldn’t plant a seed in the ground and expect it to bloom a few minutes later would you?  Things take time.

However persistence, that is a whole different ball game.  That is you sticking to an outcome.  Tony Robbins is known for saying, “if something doesn’t work, try something else, if that doesn’t work, try something else, if that doesn’t work, try something else.”  The big question is, are you willing to do what it takes (in terms of follow up) to ensure your potential customer gets the product or service you have for them?

Well in my case, I did.  I knew that people needed time to decide.  Heck, I wanted the time as a consumer, and any sales rep who would continually and genuinely follow up with me, showed me that there must be more to this than I know.

Now, when I came across the below list, I felt so relieved. It put my mind at ease.  I finally felt that my methodology of follow up was not so scary or wrong (like I hade heard from some people).

Read through the list of what happens from a consumer’s perspective.  Think about your business.  Think about what you can do to ensure your potential customer wants to learn more about what you have to offer at each point of contact.

  • The first time someone looks at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
  • The second time, they don’t notice it.
  • The third time, they are conscious of its awareness.
  • The fourth time, they faintly remember having seen it somewhere before.
  • The fifth time, they actually read it.
  • The sixth time they turn up their nose at it.
  • The seventh time, they read it and say “oh, brother.”
  • The eighth time, they start to think, “Here’s that confounded thing again.”
  • The ninth time, they wonder if it amounts to anything.
  • The tenth time, they ask their neighbour if they’ve tried it.
  • The eleventh time, they wonder how the company makes it pay.
  • The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good thing.
  • The thirteenth time, they start to think it might be worth something.
  • The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting such a thing a long time ago.
  • The fifteenth time, they are tantalized because they can’t afford to buy it.
  • The sixteenth time, they think they will buy it sometime in the future.
  • The seventeenth time, they make a memorandum to buy it.
  • The eighteenth time, they swear at their poverty.
  • The nineteenth time, they swear at their poverty.
  • The twentieth time they see the ad, they buy its offering.

Wow!  Pretty comprehensive right?  If you are like me, you know that there is a lot of hope for your business in the follow up.  So get good at it.  This was show to me in 2006… and I thought this person who wrote it was brilliant.  Here is what I found out,

This was taken from a guide called Successful Advertising, written by Thomas Smith, in 1885.  That’s right, 1885!!!   So obviously we have not changed as a consumer despite the sophistication of the marketplace improving year over year.

So if you are wondering where the money is for your business…  it is in the follow up!

Let me ask you this… do you have a follow up system?  Yes a system. An actual plan of how you will stay in touch with the person you feel is worthy of your time.  You will learn about one of the eight elements in How to Reinvent Midlife Dreams – relationships are about what you bring to them – not what you get.

Here is a suggested simple plan that has worked for years and continues to work today.  Assuming your first point of contact is by phone, follow this step by step.

  1. Telephone Call – first contact
  2. Mail note – Thank you
  3. Visit – Wanted to say hello and have them put a face to a voice
  4. Mail or Drop off a gift (if the proximity of distance is doable for you) – industry value content
  5. Email message – article you may have found on their business – congratulate them
  6. Telephone call – follow up

This simple pattern can be repeated. Your job is to build the relationship. It is a lot of fun in life making friends.  If you treat people right then you will be trust. If not you will be just like the other sales people who are only worried about making a sale.  After all do you like being sold? Or do you prefer to have the power to buy?  Give that power to your contact.

Yours in Midlife,

Kevin Huhn
Canada’s #1 ‘Reinventing Midlife Dreams’ Coach
Author, How to Reinvent Midlife Dreams
Creator, Total Branding Blueprint