Follow up, systematically 15 Aug 2017

Do you ever send an email with a request and never hear back?

One way to keep control is to transfer a copy from your sent file into a follow-up folder on your desktop. You could have a folder for each week. Then once a week go through this folder to see who has not responded to your emails.

Similarly, you could cover items which need to be reviewed less often by creating a folder for each month of the year.

When you send emails from website forms, you don’t usually get to see the email address (for security reasons), so copy your email before sending it off the form, noting the business or person it's going to, and the date. Paste it into a text document for follow-up if necessary.

No doubt there are many other practical ways of ensuring you follow up. Another easy one is to take a hard copy of everything you want to keep an eye on and put it in a concertina folder which is divided to give you all the days in the month. One thing to avoid is rewriting messages to yourself.

Two of the most important activities to follow up are outstanding debts (see “Avoid the bad payers”, opposite page) and quotes you have issued. If you’ve got the potential customer’s email address, it doesn’t take much to send a standard worded, but personalised, follow-up. You’ll get more successful quotes by following up than by doing nothing.

If you’ve had a complaint, and it has been put right, build a follow-up into your system. Nothing impresses a customer more than the firm which calls to check everything is right.

Persistence will win you more customers in the long run. Make sure you get your system right so you can renew contacts when you should.

Remember, when someone doesn’t want to buy from you they don’t really mean a permanent no. Your translation should be: “I’m not ready to buy from you at the moment but this doesn’t mean never.”

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