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Follow Up Tips For Small Business

Updated on May 19, 2015

Follow Up Strategies For Small Business

Are you a small business? Do you have a service business? Are you a small business with a service angle? Are you an entrepreneur? Does your business depend on revenue? Do you actively engage with and interact with clients? Are you a service provider?

How are you following up with your opportunities and current customer base? Maybe a better question is why? Why follow up? What's the purpose?

Ask sales expert and business insider Grant Cardone and he'll tell you that follow up is the single most effective way to growing a business next to investing hundreds of thousands if not millions in advertising. Knowing that, if you don't have hundreds of thousands of dollars to throw at advertising, mastering the art and science of follow up will do the following:

  1. Get and keep you out of obscurity within your community, your pipeline and existing client base.
  2. Separate you and your company from the competition.
  3. Allow you to expand without breaking your bank.

Understanding this, here are 5 tips for follow up as a small business or service provider:

Consider The Following As Opportunity

Wake Up Call!

FYI: If people give you money for a product or your service, you're also a salesperson.

Step One: Actually Follow Up

Hello Captain Obvious! Yes, this may seem like a face palm no brainer but how often do people actually follow up? How often do you get a chiropractic adjustment or massage and then get a phone call the next day just to say thanks? This is the exception and not the rule so if you have a small business and you deal with clients, make a real effort to follow up your clients. If you're a hair stylist, how would your clients feel if they got a call from you the day after...

"Hey, just calling to say thanks for coming in yesterday, it was great to see you and I look forward to having you back in my chair real soon."

Who does this? Nowhere near enough. 48% of all salespeople do not follow up.

What could happen to your business if you just build the habit (muscle) of following up your current clients base? Do you think you'd get more repeat business? Do you think you'd get more referrals? Do you think you'd get more positive reviews on Yelp?

On a personal note, in the last 6 months, in the town I live in, I have had the following services: Car repair, new tires, massage, chiropractic adjustments, dry cleaning, yard work, haircuts and probably a few others that I'm not remembering right now. How many of these businesses have called just to thank me for my business? None.

Many a "business" expert will tell you that there's no customer loyalty anymore. They'll cite reasons like the Internet, market saturation and extreme competition. If you, as a small business or service provider just started following up your existing client base, you will find yourself way out ahead of the pack. Take it a step further and start reaching out to the unsold and get ready for a higher tax bracket!


Have you ever given someone a price quote and then wondered how come you never heard from them again? Well, it's not their job to call you back! It's your job to sell yourself, your service and your company. FOLLOW UP!

Step 2: Have a map

Since the main purpose of follow up is growing your business, separating yourself from the competition and getting yourself out of obscurity, it's important that you have a plan to work. Having a path or map to follow with a clear end point is crucial to successful follow up. You can use the statistic provided above to create a plan of attack. Actually, you'll want to have two maps to guide you. One is for sold/current clients and the other would be for unsold prospects and opportunity.

Since 48% of salespeople never follow up, make sure you call and email your prospective client within the first 24 hours of making contact.

Then knowing that 75% of all salespeople never make a second attempt or call, make sure to schedule a second call within 36 hours of the original contact.

Taking into account that 88% of all salespeople never go beyond 2 calls, immagine the competitive advantage you'll have in the market if within the first 4 days of the initial contact, your prospect has received 3 phone calls and 3 emails from you?

Only 2% of all sales are made on the first contact. Think about that for a second and then do the math on how much opportunity that opens up for you if you create a strategy to follow up your prospects.

Last statistic for now; 80% of all sales are made between the fifth and twelfth contact. What does that mean to you exactly? It would make since to be prepared to make up to 12 calls to get either an appointment or a deal.

The other important part is that you're able to create a consistent path to follow up that is also unique and original so you're not saying the same thing every time you call. Be prepared to leave a unique message; one that you can duplicate in an email and have something to say if they pick up.

*Short story:

Recently my wife and I had some landscaping done. We called three local companies. All three insisted they had to come out to do an estimate. One guy quotes a price right away, the other two said they get back to us. We never heard from the other two again. The guy that got the job, got the gig because he was the only guy who gave us a quote. Never heard from him again. He did great work, was professional and courteous. Am I a loyal customer now? No.

Step 3: Schedule It

You know the old saying, failing to plan is planning to fail. Make sure you set aside time each day to follow up. The best time to do this is early in the day when you're fresh. If you're burnt out already by the end of the day, the better the odds are you'll revert to old habits and just skip it. Considering the statistics we were looking at, it won't take much to separate yourself from the competition anyway, so let's look at a few real world examples.

  • If you're a hairdresser and your first appointment is at 10 am, set aside an hour from 9 am to 10am to call and thank everyone who came in yesterday and got their hair done.
  • Chiropractic office have your receptionist make these calls every morning.
  • If you're in landscaping, set aside time to call everyone you worked with yesterday and make sure you're following up opportunities after the initial contact*. Don't just quote a price and be done with it.
  • If you're a masseuse, set aside time between massages to follow up with clients and prospects.
  • What about the drycleaners...? Wait...? What? Yeah, that's right. How impressed would you be, I mean seriously, if you dropped off two suits and the next morning you get a quick call just to say thanks for the business? Seriously, how cool would that be?
  • Personal trainers should set aside time to follow up everyone who trained with them yesterday and everyone who inquired about it.

How come this hardly ever happens? Anytime I've ever asked, it's always "too busy/no time." This is why you need to schedule it. Hopefully, if you have a small business you see the possibility of what an impact even a moderate level of routine follow up can have on the sustainability of your business and its continued growth.

Bob Burg is famous for the saying "People will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know like and trust."

This is exactly why you need to schedule time to follow up. If you don't follow up they can't know you, like you or trust you. You really can't afford not to.

Honestly now

Do you think you could do a better job with follow up

See results

Step 4: Problems are opportunities

In Grant Cardone's book Sell Or Be Sold: How To Get Your Way In Business And In Life, Grant introduces us to the concept that "problems are opportunities." After speaking with many small businesses, it seems there is a concern that following up will expose problems and open the business up to complaints.

GOOD! You want complaints? Wait, what? Look I'm not saying be a jerk to your customers so they complain, but if there's a problem and you know about it, you can fix it. So look for problems and when you get a complaint, thank them for their feedback. When you read Sell Or Be Sold, you'll learn more about how problems are opportunities to serve and build your brand.

Did you know that only 1 in 37 people actually complain? And it's usually that 1 in 37 that's up on Yelp dragging your stars down. Imagine what would happen if before they had a chance to blow up your Yelp page... you called. And now imagine how much more impactful it would be if you were able to listen to and handle the situation. What would their Yelp review look like then?

A little pro-activity never hurt no one!

So while you don't want to create problems, you certainly want to seek them out. This will allow you to shine and will result in more positive communication with your clients.

The Last Word: Permission to be unreasonable

OK, you have four follow up tips or mindsets or ideas you can employ immediately to create a greater impact on the solvency of your business. Which one makes the most sense to you? Which one will you start to incorporate immediately? Because that's the next thing. You can read this and agree and announce to yourself this is a good idea or you can take some action. Choice is yours, but since we're talking about action, let's talk about how much.

Nobody gets a 6-pack when they join the gym. They get it when they go. Who gets the best results in the gym? That's right, the people who work the hardest when they're there. These are the same people grinding it out and getting accused of having good genes or a good pharmacist. Many do yes, but what does that have to do with you busting your ass? Nothing.

Get out there and follow up like a mad man or as Grant puts it, "like a hungry dog on the back of a meat truck!"

Look, the reason nobody's doing it because they're scared. You don't have to be. All you have to be is committed. Committed to what? Creating a life that you can be proud of, of bringing your passionate self to your work and your clients and of being great at what you do.

People buy from average all the time and usually because they have to not because they want to. You know what they come back for? They only really come back for GREAT and they refer for great. Master the skills of follow and you'll be one step closer to GREAT and great means freedom.

At the end here you may find yourself at a place of knowing that you don't know. The real reason businesses fail is not a lack of capital, but as you'll see in Sell Or Be Sold, it's a lack of production. If Starbuck's did sell a bunch of coffee, they'd implode. It has nothing to do with capital, it's about revenue.

Do you know everything there is to know about generating more revenue? What about successful follow up strategies that would give you the tools you need to follow up a prospect for 52 weeks or a client for 24 months? How would your business grow if you understood why people buy anything or how to effectively present your product? There is a program where all this is covered in great detail. It's called Cardone University and right now, if you mention this article you can get 3 days free access to study the art of follow up and the science behind growing your business. If this is something you'd like to take a look at send an email to with your contact information or check out the link to the right to learn more.

Happy Follow Up - leave your comments and questions below!


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