Effective Follow-Up -- How to Master Effective Follow-Up and Get More Clients

Do you get lots of leads -- and wonder why they don't buy?  You're not alone. Read on to discover the key to turning leads into clients -- and clients into your biggest fans.
Let's assume that you've finally figured out how to get leads. You're networking skills are finally paying off or you've developed referral partners who send leads your way.  Maybe you've mastered the art of online networking as well. Or perhaps your website is finally on page 1 of Google and inquiries are flying in.
Then what?  There's a missing link.  How do you get leads & prospects to actually buy from you?  There are a number of elements that go into making the sale, but none of them matter unless you make use of the most important one of all:  you FOLLOW UP!
1) Follow up with your leads 
So you have a pocket full of business cards when you get back from that networking breakfast.  Don't rest on your laurels.  Follow up.  Connect with them! Send them an email, postcard or invite them for a cup of coffee but remember to keep the focus on "connecting" and how you might be able to help them. These first touches will fail if you turn them into an unsolicited sales call. Remember to repeat as necessary.
2) Follow up with your inquiries 
I consider these as random acts of kindness from the universe - you know what I mean, when seemingly 'out of the blue' you receive a call or email inquiry on your product or services. But yet so many people seem to miss the golden opportunity and don't follow up - heck some don't even reply. Yes, I know many of these inquiries may be price shoppers or tire kickers but they are also buyers too. 
Do you have a system of replying to inquiries? Do you even have a way to capture their contact information? If not, build a system. Whether it's a standard (but customizable) letter or email you send out, a follow up call, a package or presentation to deliver, a way to offer samples or a complimentary consultation or even just adding them on to your newsletter database.
Just know that you must continue to follow up. One contact isn't always going to convert a prospect to a client - just like advertising, many prospects need several impressions or touches before they buy.
3) Follow up with your first-time clients 
Once your prospects have made their first purchase, whether it's goods or services, it's time to follow up again.  
Check with them to see if they're happy, and if there's something else you can do for them.
This is a great time to offer other subsequent services or up-sell into other services or products. Don't forget to use this opportunity to ask for referrals or introductions.
4) Follow up with your regular clients 
Sure, they're yours... for now.  This may sound a bit ominous, but they're not immune from being lured away by your competitors who might have better follow-up skills.  So stay in touch with them on a regular basis.  Let them know you value their business.  Give them the occasional appreciation token, gift -- or special deal just for regulars.
5) Follow up with ex-clients 
Yes, we hate to think of it, but some clients do become ex-clients.  Follow up and ask them what made them decide to leave.  Tread carefully and be sure not to sound either accusatory or desperate. 
Let them know that you appreciated their business and that you want to find out what made them decide to leave so if it was something you did or failed to do you can do better in the future. And, of course, don't forget to let them know that they're welcome back at any time.
Definitely don't be shy about continuing to follow up with them over time. People's needs change so if you stay in touch you're more likely to get them back when they need your product or services again.
So no matter where you are in the prospect to client relationship process, follow-up is always important. And it can mean the difference between having a full slate of clients  and almost none at all.  
Once you follow up with people, aim to build relationships with them and then keep following up. And the more solid the relationships, the more likely they are to buy from you -- and keep buying from you for years to come and don't forget about the potential for referrals too.
Most people fail to keep consistent and planned follow up happening. They may follow up it once or twice but then move on to the next prospect. However, you can greatly reduce your marketing efforts and increase your conversion success if you put together a follow up plan and consistently work it. 
So who do you need to follow up with today?