Following up is critical yet it will help you demonstrate the value of your offer and Company. Here are some tips on how to follow up with past clients and new prospects who went completely silent after just a few back-and-forths.
If you're wondering how to efficiently follow up with customers, then read on because I feel your curiosity.
It can be tricky knowing how to follow up with customers if they got excited during an upsell or new deal process and went cold right after.
But it will also allow you to establish yourself as an authority, gain customers' trust, and eventually better reconnect with them.
Why Follow Up is Important to Customer Retention
You may have heard this before, but it's critical to keep in mind: the longer a customer has been with your business, the more profitable they become.
There is a direct correlation between how long a customer has been with a company and their value.
On average, an existing customer for one year is estimated to generate 1.6 times more revenue than a customer acquired through other means.
In addition, they spend around 10% more and are 4x less likely to stop spending with your company compared to new customers.
What all these numbers boil down to is that it's always worth following up with people who could potentially convert into long-term customers.
In fact, according to a report from Bain & Company, after only five years of relationships, the value of a customer increases by up to 95%.
That's why it's important to consistently follow up with people who can potentially become referrals and loyal return customers. And once you've done that, show your appreciation for their commitment to your business.
Another reason why following up is critical for customer retention is because it can act as an early-warning system before something goes wrong with their order or if they're dissatisfied with the product.
Adding Value Through Your Follow-Up
When you follow up with clients and prospects, providing added value is one of the most effective ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors, stay front of mind, and boost customer satisfaction at the same time.
You want them to know that you're not just another salesperson, but someone who brings value to the table. It adds a personal touch and gives them a reason to look forward to hearing from you again.
Adding value to an existing client is something that should be done organically. You don't want it to feel like you're selling them something or getting pushy with your offers.
For example, if you ever run any kind of contest in the past, reach out to those who participated and offer them another chance at winning something even more valuable.
You can also give them a discount or special offer that they would specifically appreciate now. Set up a client follow-up system for your convenience.
Get creative with what you send their way, but make sure it's something someone who took an interest in your brand is looking forward to receiving.
When should you follow up with the client?
After reaching out several times without getting a response, it's time to move on and find other customers who will be more responsive.
This is not always easy when you're in the middle of doing your job but there comes a point where re-engaging with someone becomes too much trouble wasting valuable resources and time.
For instance, if you're a salesperson and your prospect keeps pushing back the meeting date or doesn't respond to emails, it's probably best to move on because they are not seriously interested in moving forward with buying from you at this point.
In most cases, they will be more responsive when you stop following up as their curiosity gets the best of them.
Many customers will often go silent after just one or two follow-up attempts, but this is not always the case sometimes they need to be followed up several times for them to respond.
However, if you've made it past your second attempt and haven't heard back from them yet, it's probably time to move on. Here are some ways on how to follow up with past clients and new prospects:
1. Creating re-engagement emails
Send an email after each follow-up attempt to make sure it's clear what your next steps should be if they don't respond.
This reminder will make it a lot easier for them to get back in touch because, from their perspective, they're missing out on something that might be worthwhile.
Email is the best way to maintain regular communication with your customers because it's personal, yet sent at scale.
The downside is that sometimes people aren't checking their inbox or they can forget about your upcoming offer or discount if you don't remind them.
2. Giving clear and concise instructions in your communications
Make sure you've been giving complete information during each follow-up attempt so there's nothing left to guesswork on the other end.
Being clear means that you don't want to leave out key details, especially if they're there to potentially help your prospect reach their goals.
It's also important to give them realistic expectations about the time it will take for you or one of your team members to get back in touch with them so they won't be waiting around forever.
Instructional emails will come in handy for many reasons, such as:
- Enabling your prospects to take action and buy from you.
- Reminding them about upcoming offers.
- Quickly respond to any questions they might have.
3. Personalizing your messages
This is an effective way of staying top-of-mind for a client or prospect, especially when they have time constraints and can't take the time to open and read lengthy emails.
Customizing your content can be as simple as changing the subject line or including their first name.
You also want to make sure that your emails are personalized because it shows you care about what they think and that you're putting effort into this relationship.
This is especially important if you already know them on a personal level or want to build rapport before asking for something.
4. Following up with phone calls
Even if you're a salesperson who hates making cold calls, it's important to establish your presence as someone reliable and not afraid of picking up the call or dialing out because this will show that you care enough about them to do the work.
Calling your clients will mean that you'll need to do some research because there's no way you can call tens or hundreds of people out of the blue.
But if it's someone you've already built up rapport with, don't be afraid to reach out via phone; after all, this is a very personal thing and sometimes not everyone wants to communicate with you through another platform.
Phone calls are an underrated way to follow up with clients because you're demonstrating that there's no issue too little or small for you to talk about.
5. Providing added value in your follow-up emails or texts
You can also add a P.S. to the end of an email that provides information on how your client business will benefit from what you're offering them, whether it's something short and sweet like an upcoming webinar they should attend, or a free report for their business.
It's a good idea to have a P.S. for every follow-up email you send because it gives them an extra reason to check the rest of your message and speak with you again.
But whatever you do, make sure that what you're proposing is something they'll be interested in reading about or attending, otherwise, this will come off as a weak attempt at selling something to them.
It's important to not send out too many follow-up messages, as this can annoy your clients and they might feel you're being pushy or intrusive.
Depending on the industry or type of service you offer, you'll have to use your best judgment about how often it's appropriate to send a follow-up email after a certain period.
And if you're trying to sell a product, send any follow-up emails within 48 hours of your first message.
6. Sending out customer surveys
Sending a quick questionnaire to your clients and prospects once they've become active clients is effective in getting their feedback on how you can better serve them moving forward, whether it's with improving products or services or offering additional value-added opportunities for more revenue.
You can send out a survey to clients either by email or through your website, asking them about the best ways to get in touch with them.
This is also helpful because you'll be able to see how they found out about you and be able to figure out what marketing methods are working and which ones aren't.
And if you notice that there are any holes in your marketing methods or campaigns, you can use their feedback to make improvements.
7. Sending handwritten personalized notes
This is a great way to stand out from the crowd and get someone's attention when they're receiving dozens of emails on their end.
This goes without saying but it's important to never underestimate the power of sending handwritten personalized notes, whether you're reaching out to clients or prospects for business purposes or just as simple thank-you note this will always stand out from the rest of their mail.
In most cases, people won't mind receiving a handwritten note once you've established a relationship with them and they know that it's coming from someone who genuinely cares about how they're doing.
Remember to keep your notes short and sweet because it can get annoying for clients or prospects if all you do is bombard them with emails.
8. Be Clear with your motive
During a follow-up, you want to make sure that your clients or prospects don't get the wrong message. However, this doesn't mean you should take it easy when they've shown little interest in what you're offering them.
Since they didn't respond during your first follow-up attempt means that something is missing and if not addressed properly will hurt your business.
When you're following up with a new prospect, your emails must be short and to the point so they get what you want from them within seconds of receiving your message.
This means stating clearly in the subject line why you need their attention immediately or if there's an issue on their end preventing them from responding, don't beat around the bush, just tell them so they can address it right away.
9. Write a Direct Subject Line
When you're writing emails for follow-up purposes, always make sure that your subject line is direct and states what action is needed from the client or prospect whether it's asking them to participate in an upcoming webinar, or share your blog post (this will help you get more views for your article), let them know what's in it for them.
For example, if they're supposed to attend an upcoming webinar about how their business can benefit from using social media marketing tools and resources.
Make sure that the subject line clearly states this so there are no misunderstandings.
The direct subject line will help the recipient of your email zero in on what you're asking them to do and will prevent any confusion that may cause them to overlook your message.
10. Outline your Offers
Direct subject lines are always better when you want to get your point across, but if they're not getting it or their inbox is full, and can't risk opening any more messages (this happens a lot nowadays).
Then make sure that there's something else about what you need them to do in the email's opening line, like asking directly if they received your previous message about an upcoming event you're hosting or webinar where their business can benefit from.
This will help them decide whether it's worth their time and attention to open your email or not without having to go through the entire message.
Just make sure that you're not simply repeating what you said in the previous email but your opening line should be different from it so they don't think that you're just sending them automated messages.
11. Give a Specific Call-to-Action
Since it often gets ignored by clients and prospects when there are no specific directives on what to do next, then make sure that you're giving them a clear-cut call to action that is specific and can be done within seconds.
For example, if you want them to share your blog post on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, then make sure the message tells them exactly where they need to click for it to work.
Most people are already familiar with these buttons, so all you need to do is tell them how many times they should click it or what time interval works best for your business.
12. Keep It Short and To The Point
The fewer emails that your clients receive on their end the better - this means making sure that there's no fluff in your message by summarizing everything into a few key points.
Remember to keep your message short and sweet so they can digest it easily. You don't want them to lose interest before getting the entire idea of what you need from them, especially if there's a deadline involved or an important event coming up that requires their immediate attention.
Just make sure that you don't overload them with too much information about the event itself (that's what your website is for) and stick to the main points like when it starts, how long it will run, what they should expect from it, etc.
Don't overload them with too many details and information as this will only clutter their inbox and make it more difficult for them to check back, especially if they're busy.
13. Retain a Neutral Tone
One of the biggest reasons why some emails get ignored is because it sounds like the sender is angry or frustrated but if you're too soft, then they'll take your business for granted.
To avoid this from happening, make sure that you keep a neutral tone in all of your follow-up messages so they know that everything's okay and there are no issues on your end.
Neutral doesn't mean being cold and detached, just avoid sounding desperate or pushy. It is also an effective way to make them view you in a more positive light.
14. Be Persistent, But Not Annoying
Although you want to follow up multiple times until they get back to you or accomplish what you need from them, don't be too pushy about it.
If follow-up is done the right way and at a certain time interval where their attention is guaranteed (such as early in the morning before work starts), then there's a chance that they may get annoyed and just want to be left alone for the time being.
However, if it's been a long while since you contacted them and there was no response on their end (whether intentional or not), then feel free to contact them again.
But this time send an email asking what happened and whether or not they need any more information on whatever it is that you're asking them to do.
15. Make It About Their Best Interests
Last but not the least, don't forget to mention how their business will benefit from doing what you're asking them to do.
This way they'll be more inclined and interested in helping without thinking too much about it (they may even ask for clarification if needed).
If you can't find a way to do this, then it's probably not worth asking them in the first place.
You don't want your client to feel like they're stuck in a position where it's either them or you because this will cause resentment and make the work environment uncomfortable.
The bottom line is that follow-up emails are important so they will pay attention to anything else you need from them while keeping track of your business dealings.
16. Track Results
So by now, you should know what works and what doesn't when it comes to following up with clients.
After all your communications with them, you can now determine which methods are the most effective and will work for your business.
Keep track of your results (the number of responses, open rates, etc.), so you can easily determine the best ways to reach out in the future.
The more organized you are, the better this will allow you to plan out effective strategies when it comes to your follow-up messages, especially if you're using templates or following a certain formula for each message.
You can even use your email marketing software to track the number of people who opened your message, clicked on any links within it, printed it, etc.
It's always helpful to know how well you're doing and this information will provide that insight for you.
This way you can easily create the ideal follow-up emails that will achieve in getting in touch with prospects in no time!
Benefits of following up with clients
- Clients can feel important and appreciated.
- More likely to offer effective solutions and suggestions.
- An easy way to create a good image for your business or services.
- Provides an opportunity for you to learn more about them and what they want from your products or services.
- Increase the likelihood of creating a long, profitable business relationship.
- Triggers a sense of urgency and gets them to act quickly, especially if they've been putting your requests off or ignoring you.
- Allows you to offer customized deals based on what the client needs while providing additional incentives for their business.
- Get in touch with clients before they forget who you are and what services you're offering.
- An opportunity for your clients to feel valued, which can translate into them referring their friends or family members to your business.
Follow up with your prospects and clients, but make sure that you do it in the right way at the right time. Follow up too often or not enough, and they'll ignore your emails eventually.
It's important not only for new businesses owners but also existing ones who are looking to increase their customer base. It uplifts the spirits of your customer and makes them feel appreciated.
Be patient, persistent but not too pushy so they get annoyed with you. Follow up in the right manner at all times for the best results!