Being in direct sales is so much more than just selling stuff. It is mastering the art of personal touch and building know, like and trust with your customers. Direct sales is more about garnering trust through building relationships and those that run direct sales businesses that are thriving, are the ones that are showing up for their customers after the sale. Follow up can be very subtle, but the difference it makes is astronimical. The value of follow up in your direct sales business needs to be a system that has been thought out, planned and then implemented. Throughout this article we are going to dive into the reasons why it is so important and some ways that you can start implementing it in your own direct sales business.
Why is Follow Up Critical for Your Business?
- Building Trust: The first thing that follow up will do for you is to build trust with your customer. When it comes to direct sales, people what to buy from people they trust, and there are two ways to get that trust, referred (someone refers you to their friends and because the friend trusts you, they trust you as well) and the second is earned. In the very first interaction with your new customer they are going to want to know that you have their back beyond just the initial sale. They want to know that they can come to you with their questions and get help with their products, with navaigating the webiste and with getting refills with consumable products. When you take time to follow up with your customers it conveys that you value their business and that you are genuinelyinterested in their needs and what you can do to make their experience a positive one.
- Beyond the Sale: When we take the time to follow up with our customers after the sale, we are providing them with superior customer service. This is definitely not something you are going to get from a big box store, but you can definitely expect it and deserve it in the direct sales realm, and your customers will want that too. A timely follow up can ensure that any questions, concerns or issues a customer might have are met quickyl so that they experience with your brand and company makes them feel as if they are part of the family.
- Increases Your Sales: Not all of your sales are going to come from new customers, especially if you have consumable products. You want your customers to keep coming back. And sometimes there isn’t even a sale attached to the follow up you are doing for your customers. Sometimes they need that reassurance from you, and need to hear more about the product you are sharing before they decide that now is the right time to jump into that purchase. These follow ups keep your products on top of the customer’s mind, and they will know who to reach out to when they are ready for a refill or two.
- The Feedback Loop: One of the awesome things about interacting and following up with your customers is the ability to learn insights with them. What worked, what didn’t work? What can they tell you about a product demo that you shared? What information do they need more of? All of these kinds of things can be learned when we are sure to do our follow up.
How to incorporate follow up in your daily routine
Now that we know the importance of follow up we need to know how to incorporate it into our daily routine. Many of us have routines that we do daily with our businesses, so let’s chat about how we can add this one extra thing to our task list each day to help take our businesses to the next level.
- Take a Look at the List: Not all customers or leads are made out exactly the same way. Some require more attention than others, while some can wait a bit down the line. One way that you can determine who needs immediate attention and who doesn’t is by taking time to prioritze the list. Who needed something immediately? Who placed an order and after the initial thank you can wait for a follow up message about receiving their product? Who needs help finding, tracking, or learning a process for your products? Prioritizing your list can help you serve your people when they need to be helped. One way of prioritizing your list is to use color coding.
- Dedicate a Certain Time of Day or the Week: Set aside certain blocks of time during the day or the week to work on your follow up. Depending on the type of follow up that needs to be done having a certain time or day can help you make sure that it gets done. Make it a non-negotiable task. Set it and then do it! One way of determining where you can fit this into your day and plan is by participating in a Time Inventory. Determine the time you truly have available in your schedule to dedicate to this task.
- Use a System: If you are just getting started I recomend a simple paper sysstem. Why? Because setting up a paper sysstem doesn’t cost a lot of money, there isn’t a hige learning curve in using the system and until you know what will really work for you, it is easier to refine paper then to keep changing CRM systems. My favorite is the Teacher Grade Book Insert from Tula XII.
- Script It, But Be Personal: When you are just getting started it is good to have a script or a template to start with. As you become more systematic you can have an email or automated follow up system that you can use to help you. Depending on the style of follow up, your messages may need to be more personalized, mentioning a previous interaction, asking them about something they shared or maybe a simple inquiry about their well-being.
- Be Consistent: Just like any habit you might be creating, this is one that needs to be consistent to have the desired effect. Even when you have slow days make sure that you are reaching out and chatting with those on your follow up list. It might not be for a specific reason, but just showing up for your customers in their in-box can change the trajectory of how they do business with you, and could possible lead to further referrals for you and your business. Sometimes you might only need to send a simple “thinking of you” message to tip the scales in your favor of keeping their continued business.
Knowing why and how are only the beginning of your journey with follow up. The value of follow up in your direct sales business is truly priceless. It doesn’t cost you anything other than your undivided attention and a little bit of time. Following up is free for you, but may pay in dividends more than the time you put into the task. Follow up isn’t just about making the sale, but more about making a friend and building your continued relationship beyond what your product can do for them. Having a consistent follow up stystem can ensure that your business not only survives but thrives as well. In the world of sales it’s often the small gestures of showing up for your customers and followers that leads to the most significant impacts.