The Value of Follow Up

By Beacon Staff

Last week, we talked about follow ups and why they’re so valuable.

This week, let’s do a little math and prove it.

When I have conversations with business owners about following up, it often comes up that these things are a lot of work. They don’t mean the follow up itself, but the act of getting their staff to actually do it, much less getting them to remember to do it, and so on.

First of all, a follow up system has to become part of your system for doing business, just like the bubble wrap that you insist must be wrapped around that expensive English bone china egg coddler before you ship it.

Your staff wouldn’t ship a delicate piece of china without bubble wrap, and if you train them properly and make it part of the way you do business – they also won’t dream of blowing off the follow up.

The other side of this is that it isn’t rocket science. You don’t need an expensive system to make this stuff happen. A system could be an extra, documented, managed step that you insert into your paper-driven process.

So what about the value? As I mentioned last week, I had some suspension work done on the Suburban at the same place where I bought its tires. I go there because they always treat me well and do good work.

But they could do more. More business.

Since I bought those tires, I have yet to receive a phone call, postcard or email offering to check those tires for uneven wear (a sure sign that something else needs to be repaired, or that I’m too distracted to inflate my tires properly).

Likewise, I have yet to receive any sort of contact to check alignment, brakes, or even to rotate my tires. Not from them, not from my brake shop either.

I don’t receive a contact in the early winter when lots of car owners change out regular tires for studded ones (I don’t, but many people do). I don’t receive a contact in the spring when the studded ones come off and are replaced by regular ones.

Not only are these things that naturally bring people to that store, but they also are ideal inspection times. Swap out time is an ideal time to determine that the other tires you are switching to might need to be replaced.

All this lack of contact even though this well-run store rotates and fixes flats for free. It’s clear because of other things they do and how they do them that they want me to come back and buy tires there again.

Despite all the smart things they’re doing, there’s opportunity to offer a bit more care for those tires. While showing they are trying to help me get the most from them, they might find something else during a quick inspection that might strand me, or simply be unsafe.

Doing the math

If you have 1000 customers at any one time, research shows that about 3% of them have an immediate need for your product. That’s 30 sets of tires waiting to be bought at any one time.
Is that worth some follow up effort?

We also talked last week about how a free inspection would increase sales.

For example, if you see 12 people an hour in a 10 hour day, that’s 720 clients through the door per 6 day work week. If only 1 client per day needs a new battery, and they buy a $45 battery, the free inspection will result in $14,040 in battery sales.

Who knows what other sales you’ll make and what safety issues you’ll find.

Sure, maybe most of those people will buy a battery from you anyhow, but your inspections will have them buying before they are stranded somewhere, late for work, late for an appointment, stuck in bad winter weather, unable to drive their pregnant wife to the hospital and so on.

And you were the one who caught the fact that the battery was about to fail. I’ll remember that.

Look at your numbers and put a value on them. It doesn’t matter if you don’t sell tires and batteries. You can use this too.

Want to learn more about Mark or ask him to write about a business, operations or marketing problem? See Mark’s site or contact him at [email protected].