Follow up is an important and often overlooked part of the entire sales cycle. The key to understanding the crucial nature of follow up is the realization marketing is not a linear process but rather circular. We often think of sales as beginning with an introduction and ending with a sale. That segment of the process, however, is only the transactional portion of an endless cycle of consultive client-centric sales, follow up and repeat business.
Simply put, follow up drives repeat business.
Note also there is not a single follow up in the marketing cycle but multiple opportunities and necessities for follow up. You follow up after your initial meeting with a potential client. You follow up when they contact you for a request to assist with travel. You follow up if you neglect to obtain all the information you need to help them with their planning or if the client neglects to get back with you. Follow up happens again just before departure to ensure the client is prepared and maybe even during the trip to ensure all is well. You follow up after the client returns for a de-briefing and you then begin a series of follow ups to discuss the next trip and to provide the client with day-dreaming materials.
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When do you follow up? There is no set rule, but a good travel consultant will begin with a tight schedule of follow ups and then adapt to individual client preferences. Follow up demonstrates to the client your dedication to the relationship. By keeping the clients’ needs and interests at the center of the follow up effort, you don’t appear to be merely solicitous. Instead, the authentic nature of your practice will shine through.
Use a variety of methods for following up with your clients. Email, telephone, hand written notes and even tools like Linkedin all have their place. To the extent possible, however, always try to leave a written record of your conversations to confirm what was said and when. Thus, if you make a telephone call, again follow up with an email confirming the nature and content of the conversation.
Tomorrow: The content of your follow up