There’s an interesting dichotomy for entrepreneurs because in almost every ideal client profile (aka avatar) there’s the expectation that the right lead for your business will immediately say “yes!” and hand over their credit card. And so while we intellectually understand that most people will need a bit of nurturing, stubbornness takes over.
If you find yourself in need of more clients – at any level of your business – then you have a choice. You can cross your arms and insist that anyone who hesitates isn’t ideal enough or you can reach out and nurture them into the relationship and (inevitably) close more sales.
1. Draw on your empathy.
Ever have a big decision to make and find yourself waffling? Your clients have the same tendency because the more important a decision, the bigger the investment of time, energy and money or the greater the payoff, the harder it can be to commit. It’s natural to be nervous and need some time to think things through and doesn’t make a lead less than ideal. When you honor that process by answering questions, gently prompting a decision and providing support you show that you care about the person making the decision, not just the income.
2. Reach out in a way that’s authentic
Back in October I shared some of my favorite ways to reach out to leads such as calling them to check in, sending an email with articles I think they’d find helpful and following them on social media to learn more about their business. The interesting thing is that I got so much pushback in comments and messages to those ideas. While I’ve never maintained that any system is perfect for every person and business it’s interesting how difficult it can be for some of us to reach out.
You don’t have to reach out or follow up with leads in the same way as anyone else. What you do need to commit to is finding something that works for you and practicing it consistently. Whether it’s a card in the mail, a follow up email or a casual hello every few months, do what works for you and feels authentic.
3. Don’t give up
It’s easy to put a lead out of your mind as “cold” if a day goes by without hearing from them. The truth is that your business and offer is probably not the only thing on their mind. Stuff happens, life is messy and circumstances beyond your control can sometimes get in the way. This doesn’t mean that you hound someone to keep your offer at top of mind, but don’t give up on the relationship.
If it’s difficult to remember who all the leads are then you can organize them in an Excel doc, keep a list on your office writeboard or tag them in your CRM software with reminders to follow up. Some clients like Asana for this purpose with a new project just for pending leads and a recurring task to follow up to encourage continued engagement.
The biggest challenge you’ll have is deciding what you’d like to do and designing that system (even if it’s just a 2 part checklist on a Post-It note).
A well designed lead follow up system will feel comfortable and natural, close more clients and take the indecision out of the process.
Action Step: Consider today how many leads in your business have not yet committed to your program or service and how you can reach out to them this week to reconnect.