Go after new business and never forget to follow-up

Scaling / April 15, 2013 / lbenetton

People who run small businesses know how important it is to win new business. They also know that simply pitching a prospective client is never enough – it’s just the first step. Few (if any) prospects simply buy what you have when you first contact them.

Most new business happens when you follow up with prospects. That’s why businesses must make followup part of their regular routine.

Ed Gandia co-wrote a book with two other freelance professionals called The Wealthy Freelancer: 12 Secrets to a Great Income and an Enviable Lifestyle. In Chapter 6, “Nurture Prospects Perpetually,” Gandia speaks about the “not today” crowd and how you can stay in touch with them and gain their trust using “a smart, methodical, and sincere lead-nurturing effort… focused on starting and sustaining a meaningful conversation with your ‘not today’ leads.”

This isn’t about the hard sell. It’s about building relationships in which both business and prospect get to know and like one another.

Gandia describes several things businesses can do to nurture leads. He suggests doing things like:

  • Developing a library of information your leads would enjoy (articles, books, white papers, podcasts, videos and so on)
  • Getting in touch multiple times over the coming months using different channels (snail mail, email, phone and so on)
  • Managing your lead-nurturing process

The last point can be tricky unless you have a great customer relationship management tool like Daylite. In Daylite, you can create an opportunity for the prospect, then associate tasks and calendar appointments to that opportunity that fall on specific dates, so you know when to follow up.

However, what do you do if you contact, say, ten leads a day for a week? You need to recreate the same followup tasks and appointments 50 times that week. You might miss a followup task here or there, presuming you get through all that typing …

Instead of recreating the same tasks and appointments 50 times, you can first create a reusable “template” of those tasks and appointments in a Daylite activity set.

Check out the following Daylite activity set. Its owner can apply it to any Daylite opportunity so that the tasks appear on the right day.

Much of what’s in this illustration is straightforward: you send a prospect a letter on the start day, you call seven days after the start, and so forth.

Wondering why each line in this activity set includes an “@@” instead of a prospect’s name? When you apply this activity set to an opportunity, Daylite replaces the “@@” with the name of the opportunity in each task.

Consider this example: you want to contact a company called “Acme Ltd.” First, you create the opportunity in Daylite and save it.

From a Daylite window, navigate to the Objectives heading, click the All Opportunities link and find the opportunity for Acme Ltd.

From the File menu, choose New, New Activity Set for Acme Ltd. A dialog appears from which you can choose the activity set to apply, the start date and any links you want to create to other Daylite items (maybe to specific contacts at Acme Ltd., for instance)

Once you click the Create button, Daylite creates all 14 tasks for you, replacing the “@@” with the name of the opportunity: “Acme Ltd.”

Compare the three tasks listed above with the first three tasks in the Followup activity set (shown below).

Can you spot the two things Daylite did to create each of these tasks? Daylite:

  1. replaced the “@@” in the original activity set with the name of the opportunity (Acme Ltd.) in the tasks.
  2. replaced the due dates in the original activity set with actual dates (“on start date” and “7 days after start”) in the tasks.

By creating an activity set like this up front, you can quickly apply the same tasks and appointments to objectives that follow the same sequence of steps. Used strategically, activity sets can save you plenty of time when you organize your work.

In this case, using your own followup system, you can build the relationships you want to turn into new business.

Other notes:

  • Activity sets, like other tasks and calendar appointments, aren’t set in stone. You can change the dates on them, add or delete them, to your heart’s content.
  • You can apply activity sets to people, companies, groups and projects, as well as opportunities.
  • In the above example, you can see the other 11 tasks by clicking “Show more future” below the three tasks shown
  • You can use activity sets to automate all sorts of business workflows in Daylite.
  • Want to create your own custom activity sets? Follow the instructions provided here.

No Responses to “Go after new business and never forget to follow-up”

  1. This is brilliant! Thanks for teaching us this!

  2. David
  3. Very helpful. Thank you.

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