But would we let it slip through if it were money?
And yet we let a ton of prospects slip through our fingers every day without knowing it.
By not following up on turned down business
You see, we all get our share of leads that turn us down. While we would like to win ‘em all, it doesn’t quite end up that way. Groups turn us down all the time due to location, rates, contract clauses or any of a number of myriad reasons.
The problem is that most of us get turned away and do nothing about it. We move on, never bothering to reach out to the group leader again.
And that is a lost opportunity
It’s sand slipping through our fingers. We lose a lead and we diligently place it in the “lost business” folder, thinking that we will reach out to them at a later date.
But do we really?
Rather than place the lead into a “lost business” folder, why not create a couple of traces (or follow ups). As soon as someone turns us away, we need to have a plan in place of what to do next.
A simple plan that can be implemented right away is to add two traces in whatever system you use to track your follow up calls. Some of us use outlook, and others use a CRM software. No matter what you use, you’ll need to create two traces that will remind you to follow up.
The first call is the follow up after their event
Place a trace to reach out to the planner a day or two after their event. While they may be expecting a call from the hotel that serviced their business, they certainly don’t expect a call from you.
Simply call and say something like:
“Hi XYZ, I remembered that your event was this past weekend so I figured I would call to see how everything went. I realize we were not able to service your business for this meeting, but I wanted to check in to see if we can work together for a different event in the future.”
Now that kind of call will both surprise and delight the planner. For one thing, if their event did not go well, the business is sure to be yours. And if the event did go well, you just slid in as a strong alternative for their next event. But before you win this business, you need to make the next call.
The second call is the follow up call a few months before their next event
It’s meant to be a reminder call that you’re still looking for their business and hope that they can keep you in mind when the RFP goes out.
The second call reinforces the point that you are competent and hungry for their business. Despite being turned down last year, you have since made two calls showing that you are organized, diligent and persistent.
Even if they turn you down for years in a row at least you will end up building that referral network. So if someone calls them, they won’t hesitate to say something like “Oh, try XYZ hotel.. I’ll email you the contact over there. We don’t use them for XYZ reason but if that were not the case, I would use them all the time.”
We all lose a good chunk of the business that we quote on every day. But just because we don’t win the business the first time around doesn’t have to mean that it’s lost forever. All you have to do is create those traces.
And while we are in the subject, you don’t have to limit yourself to just two traces
That’s the bare minimum. If you really want to win them over, then you need to go into “Rocky” mode and keep coming back. Send a Christmas email, follow them on Twitter and Linkedin and comment on something they shared, send a birthday card, or anything other way you can keep yourself top of mind.
With technology, you can also create the follow up emails in advance and they will go out on their own on the scheduled date. Look into free software like Boomerang or Rebump.
And once you start creating these traces, you’ll increase the number of prospects in your pipeline. The same prospects that are slipping through your fingers if you don’t make that change today.
What should you do next?
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