Ok… what are these 2 skills I need to master?
As a home-based business owner, there are a few skills you literally cannot be successful without.
The two we’re going to dive into today are…
Contacting & following up!
You can’t have one without other, so we’ll start with the step that comes first: contacting!
We know how important it is to reach out to people, but there is a right and wrong way to go about it…
As someone who’s been in direct sales for over a decade, I can tell you without a doubt that cold-calling or cold-messaging will never produce the kind of results that building real relationships can.
Remember… people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
So, what does this process look like from the start?
First… you build your network.
Next… you build relationships within that network.
Then… you reach out to those people about your product or opportunity.
Finally… you follow up until you close the sale.
Once you’ve developed your network and created some real relationships, you can move onto contacting them specifically about your opportunity.
I know this part can be intimidating, but I want to share a few things that have helped change the way I think about reaching out to new prospects…
- Think back to the person who introduced you to what you’re doing right now… are you grateful that they shared it with you? Would you consider it a gift?
If you truly believe in what you’re offering and you’re passionate about the opportunity you have your hands on… there is no reason to feel like you’re bothering people when you bring it up! You can’t decide if it’s the right opportunity for them or not, but that person deserves the chance to decide for themselves.
- 99% of the time… no doesn’t mean no forever.It simply means no, not right now. Until they tell you in certain terms, “No I’m not interested and never will be,” you can assume that the timing just isn’t right and they should be followed up with at a later time.
- No isn’t personal.When someone says no, they are not saying no to YOU personally. They are saying no to the timing or no to some other aspect of what you’re offering… and that’s okay!
It’s not our job to convince anyone; our job is to share what we have and let them decide whether or not they want it.
So as you begin contacting, remember this: you can’t control the outcome, but you can control the action!
That being said, there are dozens of ways to reach out and share what you have to offer…
Here are some of my favorite ways to contact and connect with a new prospect:
Invite them to an event:
I think social media is an amazing tool (and there’s no doubt it has transformed the way we do business today)… but I still believe that the best way to build your business is belly-to-belly!
It may not always be possible to get-together in person, but I believe connecting with someone is so much easier when you can talk to them face-to-face.
And remember – it doesn’t have to be any kind of formal event, inviting them somewhere can be as simple as…
- Getting together over coffee, lunch or drinks to learn more about your prospect and share more details about what you’re doing
- Inviting them to a party or sample night where they have the opportunity to see, taste or experience some of your products
- Inviting them to a local opportunity event hosted by you, your team or company to get an overview of how things work
Use third party tools:
If getting together in person isn’t an option, there are still tons of ways to connect with your prospect to give them more information
- Invite them to watch a video (could be a LIVE event on Facebook or pre-recorded video)
- Invite them to listen to a pre-recorded call or participate in a 3-way call
- Ask if they would be willing to look through a catalog and circle anything that jumps out at them
And of course… use social media as a tool to connect and contact too:
As much as I love that one-on-one connection you get from meeting up with someone in person, I love that social media allows you to make connections with people from all over the world that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
That being said, the challenge of social media is creating and cultivating real relationships with people from behind your screen.
So, how do you do that? How do you create a genuine connection online?
I think it comes down to a couple very basic things: be yourself and be a friend!
Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through your screen and be thoughtful of how you can be a friend toward someone else each time you log-on.
The simplest thing you can do is engage with the people you want to build a better relationship with… like & comment on their posts, message back and forth with them, ask them questions and find out who they are and what they want out of life!
To take your connecting to a whole ‘notha level… these are some of my favorite features:
Facebook LIVE: This is one of the most important things you can do on Facebook right now!! Facebook LIVE videos are given priority in the newsfeed and allow you to connect with even more people than normal because they get more views and exposure than normal status updates.
I know it’s a bit more intimidating for some people to get on video, especially for people who don’t know what to do a video on, but my advice is simple… have fun with it and act like you’re talking to a friend! If you can teach someone something new, entertain them with a great story or your personality, or do a “how-to” video on something you know how to do really well, it’s worth going LIVE about!
Facebook’s Voice Messenger: How much more personal is a message when they can actually hear your voice? I love how simple it is to say hi, check-in and make a connection with someone through voice messenger in a matter of seconds.
Facebook’s Day Messenger: This is Facebook’s version of Snapchat stories and it’s so much fun to put your personality into it. Whether you are giving a glimpse of your everyday life through pictures and videos or showing your goofy side with ridiculous filters… this is another great way to connect.
Instagram Direct Messages & Stories: Similar to Facebook Messenger and Day Messenger (Facebook does own Instagram!), direct messages and stories are awesome ways to take your relationships on Instagram to a more personal level.
I hope this gives you some great ideas as to how you can reach out to different people on different platforms.
If you have any methods that you love using in your business that I didn’t mention, I’d love to hear them in the comments!
Of course once you’ve made your connections for the day, your job isn’t quite over yet… because the fortune is truly in the follow-up.
Why is follow-up so important?
Once you start contacting people regularly, you’ll learn something pretty quickly: most people don’t buy/join something the first time they’re exposed to it. They need to ask questions, do research, consult family or friends, save or re-allocate money, or simply “think about it.”
In fact, it takes an average of seven exposures or follow-ups for someone to take action and actually make a purchase or join your business.
So, how often should you actually follow up?
While it can depend on each person based on the relationship you have with them, I love the 2/2/2 rule as a general system for follow-up.
The 2/2/2 rule means you follow up 2 days, 2 weeks and 2 months after the initial contact. (Of course, if the lead is HOT and shows a lot of interest, your follow-up is likely going to be much more frequent as you’re talking back and forth, checking in, answering questions, etc.)
At the end of the day, you should follow your gut and keep a few things in mind…
Trust your instincts: If you suddenly think about someone you haven’t thought about in a while, it’s a good sign that you should reach out to that person rather than waiting for them to come to you. Remember… if you don’t ask, the answer is always no!
Forcing the yes is never worth it: If you feel like you’re pressuring someone, convincing them, or talking them into saying YES beyond a reasonable measure… chances are they’re not going to be your next rockstar.
As much as we want to address people’s objections and help them overcome their fears, we can’t want it more for them than they want it for themselves.
It might be hard to let them go, but I can promise you that person will be so much more effective when they decide to join on their own time.
Try different methods: With today’s technology, there are dozens of ways to get in touch with someone… if your prospect isn’t responding to your calls, try a text message, Facebook or email.
Don’t be afraid to switch it up and try different things until you learn what your prospect prefers.
Use urgency & exclusivity: Everyone loves a good deal; no one wants to miss out on a limited-time offer, and we all like to feel special! That’s why flash sales, limited-time promotions and a little personalization go a long way in closing the deal.
When it comes to follow-up… the worst thing you can do is not follow-up at all!
You don’t plant a seed and hope that it grows into a beautiful flower all on its own… you water it, make sure it’s getting enough sunshine, and give it the care it needs to thrive.
The same goes for a prospect! You can’t just mention your product or opportunity and hope that they’ll sign up on their own and become the next runner in your business.
You have to work on building your relationship with them, take care of them by answering their questions, addressing their needs, etc. before you can expect them to “bloom” into your next business partner.
Keep in mind that each piece of the process is crucial to the overall puzzle! First you’re growing and tapping into your network, then you’re building relationships and reaching out, and finally you’re following up regularly until you close the sale or get a yes.
There is no shortcut! But here’s what I can tell you for sure: if you do the work, It Works!
If you want more tips on what to say during follow-up, check out my video on Wow Factor Follow-Up to help you get a reply from that person who’s been slow to answer.
I hope this post gave you some great ideas and strategies to take your contacting & follow-up to a WHOLE ‘notha level.
As a leader who is constantly learning, one thing I know for sure is that I still have a lot to learn! If you have other methods, ideas or even scripts that have worked well for you, I’d love to hear them below in the comments.