The Art of Following Up With Potential Clients
February 13, 2012
Today I’d like to follow up on our discussion last week about signing new clients. We’ve already discussed the first contact, interview and meeting, but what comes after all that?
You met a bride or other potential client, and you think you made a good impression. You truly like her, and you really want the job. But now isn’t the time to sit back and wait patiently; your work is far from done. Here’s my game plan:
1. Send the bride a handwritten note expressing your gratitude for her time and how much you enjoyed meeting her. If you’re a florist, include a small arrangement with your card. You might think this sounds like a bribe, but you’re just putting your best foot forward. Plus, you’ll be amazed at how far this gesture will go and how much clients appreciate it. Not to mention that sending an arrangement is a chance to show off your artistry! Give her a taste of the gorgeous flowers she can expect if she hires you. Besides, who doesn’t love receiving flowers? Trust me, it’s a worthy expense. If you aren’t a florist, consider including another token of appreciation — like a box of decadent chocolates. Or, if the bride mentioned a treat she loves at your meeting (a certain type of tea, cookie, etc…), send that. She’ll be so impressed that you were really listening and that you remembered her preferences.
2. Now, give the bride a little space. Wait a week, and, if you haven’t heard from her by then, call or e-mail just to say hello and inquire if there is any other information you can provide. Many sales’ books recommend not calling, but I don’t believe there is anything wrong with showing enthusiasm. Brides want to feel wanted. Besides, often times, I’ll call and learn that the bride is having a hard time deciding between me and one other designer. My call almost always helps my cause.
3. If the bride is still feeling ambivalent, encourage her to come in for a second meeting; keep the conversation going! Establish what the bride’s concerns are, and be prepared to address them. More often than not, it’s an issue of expense. This is the moment to educate her on how and why your talent is a valuable commodity. Or, maybe the bride adores your work, but her fiancé or mother prefers someone else. Get as much information as possible in order to win the groom or Mom over.
Securing a job is about so much more than your portfolio. It’s about excellent salesmanship and understanding that it’s never just one job. Therefore, even if a bride ultimately decides to hire someone else, follow-up one last time with a call or e-mail wishing her a wonderful planning experience and wedding.
Dear Readers, in your experience, does sending a thank-you floral arrangement or gift make potential clients feel good or uncomfortably pressured? If it’s been a week or more since your meeting and you haven’t heard from a potential client, do you reach out or leave it be?