Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Art of the Follow-Up. [And yes it is an art]

How many times have you completed work for a client and moved on to the next assignment for another client? Many of us have, including me. How many of us realized a month or more later that we forgot to follow-up, send a thank you note, or simply called to check up on our client. Don't worry, I've done that too.

As an emerging entrepreneur, I know I still have a lot of learning and growing up to do. But what I've learned in many instances in vendor to client interaction is the importance of not only communication but the maintenance of communication.

I've planned a couple of events where I ensured that I thanked my client and contractors often during the process of the event, but forgot to thank them afterwards or even followed up with them a few weeks later. When I remembered, I felt like kicking myself because I felt deep down that it just wasn't professional of me to not at least drop them an email or give them a call.

We all know that a part of being in business involves seeking new clients and customers, but what makes the difference between a failing business and a sustaining business is ensuring that your new customers and clients become your repeat customers and clients. That is why the follow-up is so powerful. The follow-up is a simple task that you can do a couple weeks after you've done business with someone that maintains their top of mind awareness of your business plus it shows that you legitimately cared about the business you dealt with that person.

Even when you have a client that didn't go so well or business just ended on a bad note. A follow-up will not only make the situation a little bit better, but it will make you look like the professional you are trying to convey. Regardless of who's fault it was, you should always do your job to ensure that your business is seen in the best light.

A keyboard and a telephone Pictures, Images and Photos

A couple of tips on the follow-up:
  • An email is always a good way of checking on or following up with a customer or client.
  • But a hand written letter is better. Since we live in the technological world, a hand written note is unexpected and personal.
  • A phone call is probably one of the best follow-ups you can provide because not only is it more professional but as far as communication is concerned it's the closest you can get with person to person contact.
  • A combination of the email, handwritten note, or phone call cements your place in your client's mind. Remember what they say, it takes three times the repetition for people to remember you. The initial contact, the follow-up, and the second follow-up ensures that they'll remember you for the better.

Make sure that you are doing your job as a professional by providing your client or customer with the best experience you can provide not just during the business transaction but after the transaction is over. By following up with your client/ customer's experience, you are cementing your place in their top of mind awareness and securing them as a potential loyal customer. And in the end, isn't that what we all strive for in business? Providing excellent experiences for loyal customers?

The Unemployed [but Empowered Entrepreneur]

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