Following Up …. A Key to Sales Success

I used to be the Director of Sales and Marketing for a national hotel company in Canada.  One day, I received a delivery from a marketing agency.   The beautifully wrapped box was address to me personally.  How could I not open it!?  Inside the box was a small logoed jar shaped like a light bulb filled with white jellybeans.  Included in the box was a handwritten note from a sales rep, a brochure outlining the various services the agency offered and a business card. Wow, right?  A personalized delivery, a hand written note and a customized container filled with candy.  This company must know what it’s doing.

The delivery certainly grabbed my attention.  The box got past the usual quick glance and file under my desk.  I took the time to open that box and see what was inside. After that the little light bulb of jelly beans stayed on my desk for a long time, with the company’s logo clearly visible to all who entered my office.

The only thing is, the reason the little jar stood on my desk for years, being refilled with new jelly beans on rather inconsistent basis, was because it was such a great example of how not to spend limited marketing dollars.

That little light bulb, along with the packaging and courier charges, probably cost the marketing agency about $8.00.  That $8.00 was spent with no pre-qualification phone call and even worse, no follow up phone call!  I was working with a design agency I was very happy with and my budget did not allow me to outsource other marketing or branding services.  Our marketing, branding and promotional strategies were managed and directed in-house and that was not going to change anytime soon.  In other words, my potential as a client did not warrant an $8.00 promotional spend.

To make matters worse, after the agency spent that $8.00, their sales rep NEVER reached out to me.  Never mind the fact that I shouldn’t have been on the distribution list in the first place, the fact that there was no follow-up is the best example of how not to generate new business and land new customers.

Whatever activities you incorporate into your sales and marketing strategies, make sure to pre-qualify so that you are spending your limited resources (both time and money) on companies that demonstrate real potential.  And then, whether a potential new customer or an already established customer, always, always, always follow up!

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