Follow Up Fatal Flaws: Why Self-Employed Fail at this Most Basic Sales Skill

Okay, I admit it.  I don’t always follow up promptly every time.  And when I don’t, it ruins my whole week; I feel like a complete fool. I resolve to get better, put in a place a fail-proof, simpler follow up system and get on with my life.  So here are my pitiful, real life reasons for not following up and what I am doing about them.

“I lost your card.” Maybe men don’t have this problem, but I sometime have no pockets, my purse is not nearby, or my day timer has a loose sleeve and the cards fall out.  Maybe it’s just that I have too many places to put the business cards I receive.

So I bought a business card holder.  In fact, I bought 2, one for my purse for casual meetings and one for my carry-all, a bag that holds a laptop, notebooks, or folders, for business meetings.   If I receive a card, it goes into the business card holder, right after I write what the person was interested in and what networking event I met them at.  The card doesn’t come out until it’s ready to be put it into my sales management system.

“I forgot to call you.” We are all busy especially if we’re successful.  Yellow sticky notes no longer count as a reminder system.  And your memory is what you forget with. Let’s stop feeling bad about this and put in a system.

I started using Google Tasks <http://mail.google.com/mail/help/tasks/>.   It is always on, sits next to my calendar, and takes only seconds to add an entry. My iPhone can get to it and so can my assistant.  So I can enter tasks from anywhere as well as delegate simple tasks like sending information (if that’s what I promised you) or having her call to set an appointment for me, which I tell people if I promised to set up a meeting.

When I schedule my meetings, there’s typically a little time between them, so I can review my task list and make a quick call if that’s what I promised.

“It’s been too many days and now I’m too embarrassed to call.” My life is about paperwork, calling people back, and meeting with them face-to-face.  Sometimes with too many meetings stacked back-to-back, my task list gets too long to get everything done quickly enough to suit me.

First of all, get over it.  Many people don’t call you back for a week, and you forgive them, so forgive yourself.  Just be honest and apologize genuinely.

Now fix your system. Set a personal commitment that your follow up calls/emails/mailings will occur within 48 hours.  Then put it on your dashboard and measure yourself.  It’s amazing how focusing on and measuring a result will produce dramatic improvement.  Even if you don’t reach 100%, your success rate at prompt follow up will skyrocket.

Do I feel like a failure for exposing myself this way? No.  I work with self employed people everyday; they share their own foibles.  I’m not alone and neither are you. My clients and I work on easy, simple, no cost ways to measure and improve profits.  Follow up is free and profitable, so every self employed person should build their skill.

What have you done lately to improve your follow up?

Now stop reading about follow up and start doing! Let’s create YOUR personal profit strategies for growing profit. Call small business profitability coach Merra Lee Moffitt, CFP®. She can be reached at, 888-920-2030 or by email at merralee@captureprofits.com.

This entry was posted on Friday, June 11th, 2010 at 9:34 am and is filed under Business Owner Mindset, Increase Sales. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.