When Should You Stop Chasing A Potential Client?
You have been to see a potential client and then dutifully gone back and sent over a proposal. And then, radio silence. Nothing back at all. You know you’re going to have to pick up the phone and that thought doesn’t fill you with joy – what if they say no?
Here’s the bad news. If you run any sort of service business, where seeing a client, writing a proposal and following up is the norm, at some point, you’re going to find yourself in the situation I have just outlined and whether you like it or not, you’re going to need to bite the bullet and pick up the phone. But then, you already knew that didn’t you? The biggest fear small business owners have about following up with potential clients is becoming a nuisance – when does chasing a potential client become too much?
There are two basic rules that I stick to when it comes to following up with someone after a meeting. Firstly, I set myself a target of contacting two potential clients a day. This can be by phone, email, text, letter, meeting them at a networking event or having another meeting with them. In fact, it really doesn’t matter what method of following up I use; the rule is that I must do it. On top of contacting two potential clients each day, I also follow up with one past or potential client each day too. This means that I stay on top of people who are either an old client or expressed interest in the past but didn’t buy. The second rule I have (and this is the one that stops me hassling people) is to go on the rule of three. That means, I can contact a potential client up to three times and if I hear nothing back, I will stop contacting them for at least six months.
Here is how this works. Let’s say I phone a potential client and leave a message. They don’t come back to me – that’s strike one. I then send them an email and again nothing back – that’s strike two. Finally, I phone them again and leave another message. Again nothing comes back – that’s strike three. Now I hope you agree that this potential client is probably telling me something. So instead of continuing to hassle them, I’ll put them onto a list to contact again in 6 months.
Why do I do this? Well let’s face it, I would rather be communicating with people who actually want to hear from me, rather than with ones who don’t. I haven’t got that much spare time. So if people don’t want to communicate with me that’s fine, I’ll move on. This rule of three can be broken though. Let’s play that scenario again. So I phone a potential client and leave a message. They don’t come back to me – that’s strike one. I then send them an email, but this time they reply apologising for missing my call and suggesting a suitable time to speak. My rule of three now resets because they have made a move and I start this again from the beginning. By following this rule, you’ll find you never hassle a client again!
If you’re considering doing some marketing in your business and would like some help or advice with this, feel free to have a look at how we can help. We’ll be happy to arrange a complimentary review of your marketing to give you some help and advice about where to start.