It's bound to happen to you as a seller - you work with a client and maybe you just don't click or there is some glitch in the delivery of your products and services. For whatever reason, you don't follow-up like you should. You want to follow-up, but some time elapses, and then in the back of your mind you fear that it won't be a positive interaction so you get busy and forget. Time passes.
Then a new, bright shiny potential opportunity shows up and as you're putting your response together you do a little research. You see that that prior project that you didn't follow-up on is connected to someone who knows the company you're oh-so trying to get the attention of and gain this project. Yep. Call it karma, call it what you will - it seems to happen enough that we should all learn what goes around eventually comes around.
This happened for me just this week. We hired a designer for a web project who was recommended by someone we know and trust. The designer seemed fine - we really didn't "click" or become fast friends - they did a project which we may not have as clearly described but it came out so-so. We were not crazy about it and ended up modifying the final project we paid them to do.
The interesting part though, is that the designer only followed up two months after we paid their firm to say that they noticed we hadn't incorporated their design yet. Yup. True. We said we were a bit behind (because we were scrambling to get it modified) and they asked nothing else. Period. No more follow-up except once to say they'd see us at a conference.
Now, the really interesting part is that one of my industry colleagues is talking with them about a project. My original trusted contact to this firm must have seen through LinkedIn or somewhere that I'm connected to them - yup - very connected. He asked me if I'd recommend the designer for the project.
N-O-P-E. I won't.
It's so silly too, because ALL they had to do was ask a few more questions and care about our ultimate happiness with their work - understand I'm a master referrer in addition to being someone who has a bit of visibility. If they had been super talented and blown us away with their work I would not care that we didn't click. If the work was so-so, as it was, but they talked about it, kept in touch, met with us at the conference we mutually were at - went out of their way to show us that they cared - well, I am sure I WOULD recommend them today.
They had two ways to solve our problem - with incredible work or with incredible connection. I'm pretty forgiving, but I don't forget when a vendor we paid to help us ultimately doesn't seem to care.
I know that many designers and creative folks are not as great at follow-up or connection as I am - so I cut some slack there. But here's what they lost out on:
- They missed out when I referred six businesses to graphic designers in the last few months - more before then.
- They won't do any more work with us. Even if I wanted to, my board won't go for it.
- They didn't get my endorsement which could have helped seal the deal with my industry colleague. They may still get it on their own.
That's about $50K+ worth of business I could help impact with my eyes shut. If I proactively endorsed and promoted them because they are awesome - it would be more. Heck, I worked with a hair stylist in Boston that ultimately gained more than $30K in business because of connections I made to her because she WAS awesome.
Here are two more posts that you might like:
So there it is. Follow up with all of your clients - even if you don't feel you did your best work, or if you feel you did your best work but you didn't have the connection you really need to be endorsed. It could mean a lot of potential business and it is the only way to do business that you can be proud of.
Lori Richardson is recognized on Forbes as one of the "Top 30 Social Sales Influencers" worldwide. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside sales teams in mid-sized companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the "Sales Ideas In A Minute" newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips in selling. Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals.