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A 4-Step Plan for Customer Follow Up When the answer is "no," rephrase the question.

By William Ballard Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I recently read Dan Kennedy's "No B.S. Direct Marketing." In chapter 5 of this book, Kennedy describes a business as a bucket into which we owners pour ideas, energy and money in hopes of stirring up profits, and maybe wealth.

Kennedy looks at the following as holes in your bucket, through which hard work, time and money once put in the bucket, are lost.

  • Failure to gather contact information.
  • Failure to follow up with new leads.
  • Not rescuing lost customers.
  • Failure to follow up with referrals.
  • No instant follow up with new customers.

Here are four steps to effective follow-up.

Step 1. Redeem yourself by re-stating or re-selling your existing offer.

If you gave an offer and the prospect didn't buy your product or service, and you failed to follow up with them, then re-state the offer to them a second time by presenting the offer again in the best way possible.

Acknowledge from the start in your communication that you realized they didn't respond to the last message. Give them reasons as to why other customers didn't respond the first time and then clear up those reasons so that they will be compelled to respond this time.

For example, let's say you promoted product A to your ideal customer but got no response (and at least two or three days have passed). At this point, you re-state or re-sell your intial product or service, acknowledging they didn't respond to that intial marketing message. Tell them why others did not engage from that first message, clear up those reasons and show why those prospects turned from leads into customers this time (this cultivates social proof).

You see, when you show your ideal customer that he or she was not alone when they didn't respond the first time they will also be compelled to follow suit when you show them that they will not be alone when responding this time.

Related: How to Sell a Product: 5 Ways to Sell Itself

Step 2. Give a firm or humorous "2nd Notice" message to create scarcity.

Another thing that you can do with this second message is to reiterate a bonus gift for buying now. Moreover, the way to really capitalize on scarcity is to re-state that if they don't act now, the bonus gift will no longer be available.

For example, let's say that you are still offering product A, but in this message you are also presenting to them products B or C that are usally an upsell product that goes with product A, but in this message you are offering that upsell product for free when they take action now and purchase product A. This is type of strategy creates intrigue and desire for what you are offering.

Related: 8 Great Tools and Resources for When You're Ready to Build a Business

Step 3. The "third and final notice."

This is where you leverage scarcity once again and reiterate the loss of the bonus gift and offer, if they do not respond now.

This may actually be one of the easiest follow up communciation campaigns you will give. All you are doing is presenting the "2nd Notice" again, only with a bit more firmness to leverage the power of scarity. Reiterate that the free product with the purchased product will be gone after this message.

Related: How to Be Remarkable at Following Up

Step 4. The final step is to present another offer.

Just because this prospect may have rejected your first offer, it doesn't mean that their need has been met or fulfilled.

In other words, from the first few messages and responses you should have a clear understanding of what the prospect's needs and desires are. Just because they did not take you up on your first offer for one particular product or service doesn't mean that they won't take you up on another product or service. In other words, if they have not taken action in purchasing product A, then this is where you present to them a completely different product or service, but one that still matches their needs and desires.

For example, let's say that I am in the market for a stylish suit but don't have much money to play around with. Well, when I enter into a suit shop and speak with the salesclerk (and I share with him what color suit I want, why I need the suit, what style of suit I am interested in, and so on) and he brings out his first intial offer/suit (which is usually the most exspensive one) including shirt and tie, I then tell him that it is too much for me...he then goes and brings out option B (which will be less than option A) and then I make the purchase.

You see, if that salesclerk did not "sell" me on that first intial offer, then my need has still not been met yet. He must continue to present to me new options until a I have been sold. That is how you master the art of follow up.

Related: 5 Secrets to Mastering Sales Follow-Up

William Ballard

CEO and Founder of William Ballard Enterprise, LLC

William Ballard is the CEO of William Ballard Enterprise, where he blogs about writing, publishing, business, and entrepreneurship.

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