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Direct Sales Success: The Fortune is NOT in the Follow-up

You’ve probably heard it time and again.

“The fortune is in the follow-up.”

Who ever said it first, could have been a billionaire if they only got a penny for every time someone said it.

And yet, they’ve only got it half right.

Follow-up is important, that’s true. But the real fortune is in the follow up system.

As I was working with a coaching client today, she explained to me that she spends approximately 6 hours a week doing follow-up calls, chasing down clients, consultants, and other leads in her direct sales business.

On a good day, the total income she can expect to earn for her efforts is approximately $200.

My Momma would call that “going out of the world backwards.”

You’re essentially LOSING money on your follow-up efforts. If you spent that same 6 hours doing two or three sales presentations, you could easily earn two to three times that amount of money.

This is exactly why consultants complain about the “hassle” of doing follow-up. It’s simply not cost effective.

Or so it would seem.

The old “dollars for hours” model will never yield a high return on your time investment if you’re doing minimum wage jobs. Most follow-up tasks fall into this category.

Instead of creating more work in your direct sales business, a good leader needs to focus on leverage. That’s a term we throw around a lot in direct sales, but usually only when we talk about growing our team. Leverage is also required in your follow-up. Here are a few examples of creating leverage in your follow-up:

1. Create automated email campaigns. Compose a series of emails to go out automatically to recruit leads (or clients to increase sales). Put them in an autoresponder. Let the autoresponder handle follow-up until the potential lead is ready to sign, or has questions they specifically ask of you.

2. Hire a VA to call and confirm dates and times for presentations. Not only will it make you look more professional, a VA makes more efficient use of the time on the phone (she cuts to the chase), saving you time and money.

3. Have a plan for contact times with hosts – using multiple methods. Call, email, facebook, text, snail mail. However you decide to do it, have a plan for the different times you’re going to contact and coach your hosts. Direct Sales 101 covers both a short (2 weeks or less) and long (4-5 weeks) time frame for host coaching. You need multiple contacts to keep a host engaged and on track for a successful party. All of those contact times do not require your personal involvement. Identify the steps in that plan that don’t require your personal involvement and delegate them to a team member to train them on the host coaching process. This does double duty – you’re training a team member, and getting the contacts accomplished without your direct involvement. If your team is small, consider hiring an assistant, your teen or asking a family member to help out.

4. Once you’ve decided on the follow-up time frames and methods, create a system and train someone else to use the system. That way, if you get laid low with an illness, your business won’t come to a screeching halt.

I’m a big fan of delegating what I call the non-income producing activities in your business. Set it, train someone, and let them handle it. As a business owner – whether it’s direct sales or any other industry – your focus needs to be on generating income and building your business. Follow-up, while important, can suck your day away faster than “a few minutes” on social media. Having a plan of attack – a system – is where leverage can make your business truly profitable.

© 2010 Lisa Robbin Young.

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Lisa Robbin Young offers direct sales coaching and training to direct sales professionals looking to grow their business like a real business instead of an expensive hobby. Sign up for her free weekly ezine at http://www.homepartysolution.com.

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