LONG TERM CONTACT – Best Sales and marketing Ideas #86

101 Best Sales and marketing Ideas

IDEA 86:


Sometimes it is the case that business does not materialize quickly. We would always like an order now, but the customer will be guided by their timing needs, and it may not be possible to avoid delay. Equally, even a customer who orders and is happy may not reorder immediately. In such circumstance the problem of keeping in touch can be awkward. You have to judge a reasonable frequency, deciding how long you can leave it, and at what point repeated reminders become annoying and thus self-defeating. There is no firm rule here, but one thing is for sure: if you give up on a prospect, the chances of getting business, or more business, diminish dramatically.

As a example from my own work, I set up my business in 1990, and in all the time since, the largest piece of business I have ever booked came from someone I had worked with before, but after a three-year gap. During that time I had made contact nine or ten times, and met with my contact only once. Keeping in touch did not take much time – mostly it was letters, e-mails, and telephone calls – but it was eminently worthwhile.

The problem here is often more psychological than real. We got bored, dispirited, or cannot quite think what to do next when the business does not come from a contact, and so we move on to something else. Delay too long and the moment passes, and it become almost impossible to renew contact.


From an American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) conference …

At a session I attended as a part of conference about training, I heard a speaker described a scheme in one company that addressed this situation. The details of the diary and follow-up system do not matter. What I liked was the thinking that highlighted the danger, and kept people’s minds focused on the need to make considered decisions to keep in touch, and judge the best way to do so, making approaches creative and well timed.

The system (and all its various components) was called the LYBUNT system. LYBUNT stood for Last Year But Unfortunately Not This, a name designed to stop customers getting into this category. It has always stuck in my mind and prompted a degree more consideration of my persistence.

In practice

  • Look after your existing and past customers. Never lose touch with them (expect as a considered decision in some cases), or you could allow business to go by default as a result.

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