So you've just wrapped up your first meeting with a prospective customer to go over a potential project. Now what do you do? If you're a savvy remodeling business owner, it's easy—you wait a few days and follow up with the prospect. Not only does following up give you a chance to answer any questions the prospect may have, it also provides an opportunity to win back business if the homeowner got lured away by a competitor. You aren't always going to close the sale, but that doesn't mean you can't ask why a prospect decided to go with someone else. Maybe there were questions or issues not discussed in your initial meeting with the homeowner that you can provide an answer to—and the follow-up is the perfect opportunity to do so.
Aside from answering questions and persuading customers, follow-ups also allow contractors the opportunity to keep some control over the sales process and project timeline. A good contractor or salesperson knows how to push a project along without annoying the customer.
Make no mistake, there is an art to the follow-up. To help you master this skill, we've compiled stories from both REMODELING and around the Web to help you become more adept at following up.
- Lower expectations: It's unlikely that a customer will immediately call you back after you leave a follow-up message. In fact, it's not uncommon for contractors to have to leave multiple follow-up messages—spaced out so as not to seem overbearing or pesky.
- Change minds: Use follow-ups to prevent lost sales by selling your services and products to prospects who may be thinking about working with someone else. To start that conversation, there's nothing wrong with simply asking prospects why your company didn't win the job.
- Get concrete: Don't give up on a customer until you have a definite yes or no from them regarding a contract. Don't be afraid to be persistent.
- Meet before and after: Follow-ups aren't just for sales; they also provide a great opportunity for more business after a project is completed. Try to meet with past clients once a year to discuss what else in their home they may need work on.
From the Web:
- Train for success: Give your salespeople—and your staff—the chance to succeed with follow-ups by properly training them in how to conduct such a conversation. Seek to brush up on your own skills toolset.
- Do it right: Use more than one method of communication and be sure to have a plan for multiple responses, such as "yes," "no," and "let me think about it."