I definitely think Picasso was on to something when he was quoted as saying "Action is the Foundational Key to all Success."
That has been the basis of my philosophy when it comes to Professional & Thorough Follow-Up whether referring to my 20 years in the dealership world or my time with DrivingSales.
I have this friend and client in Canada named Wayne C. Wayne is a tough car guy on the outside and a great human being on the inside. I would like to share some of the experiences that Wayne and I went through in forging our business & personal relationship. We went through quite a tumultuous process to arrive at where we are today. A fairly good case study on follow-up on both sides.
Stages of follow-up with Wayne:
- 9/10/2012 ~ Emailed & Phoned Wayne to respond to his request for information
- 9/10/2012 ~ Received email containing pricing objections
- 9/10/2012 ~ Sent email explaining value & benefits
- 9/11/2012 ~ Sent email with a "Successful Client Quote"
- 9/12/2012 ~ Sent email & left voicemail
- 9/12/2012 ~ Received email stating he is "re-thinking'
- 9/13/2012 ~ Sent email with a list of references
- 9/17/2012 ~ Received email stating he is going to hold off
- 9/17/2012 ~ VM & email "I'll be here if you need me"
- 9/24/2102 ~ VM & email
- 10/15/2012 ~ VM & email
- 10/22/2012 ~ Received "Request for more info" from Wayne
- 10/22/2012 ~ VM & email answering questions
- 10/23/2102 ~ VM & email "I'll be here if you need me"
- 10/30/2012 ~ Sent Wayne a link to a great blog post
- 11/12/2012 ~ Received email from Wayne thanking me for the link
- 12/6/2012 ~ VM & email "I'll be here if you need me"
- 12/6/2012 ~ Received email from Wayne asking me to stop contacting him :-(
- 12/6/2012 ~ Sent email confirming his request and asking if I could contact him quarterly to check in
- 12/12/2012 ~ Sent Wayne a Holiday Card
- 1/13/2013 ~ Sent email wishing Wayne a prosperous year in business
- 2/6/2013 ~ Received the following email from Wayne!
It’s been a while since I decided to pass. I’m re-engaging now. Seems the slow wintery months up here are getting to me and I’m spending way too much time researching and learning all the trends!
So what are the takeaways from this 6 month exchange other than the fact that I am a pain in Wayne's rear end? I think it goes back to what Picasso said, "Action is the Foundational Key to all Success." I am a firm believer that there comes a time in the follow-up relationship where you stop selling and just continue building rapport and value. However, never stop providing professional and thorough follow up. EVER! What would have happened if I had stopped following up with my future wife when I received the response of "Let me think about it" to my marriage proposal? I know of 3 kids that would have been disappointed. Although, maybe she would have found a better "provider." I know that I never could have.
Now I will fully acknowledge that not every long term follow-up story ends like the one I just illustrated. However, if 1 out of 20 does, isn't it worth it? Also, Wayne has become a valuable source of information for me in understanding Canadians. :-) Just kidding, that was his line. But in all seriousness, he is a valuable resource for me and our company.
I hope he will share his side of how this all went down but I shared this story to illustrate a few important things that I believe in when it comes to providing professional and thorough follow-up:
- Just Do It! (My apologies to Nike)
- Provide value to prospects as well as customers
- No simply means, not right now
- Canadians are pretty cool
Let's move some metal!