A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham McGregor: The 1-5-15 day follow-up

A thank you note is a nice personal touch that shows a customer you appreciate their business. Photo / Thinkstock
A thank you note is a nice personal touch that shows a customer you appreciate their business. Photo / Thinkstock

One of the most helpful ways to promote many businesses is through positive word of mouth marketing.

In other words, happy clients tell other people they know about the great experience they have enjoyed when buying from your business.

There are many ways to get positive word of mouth marketing happening.

Something that you may want to test in your own business is 'how' you follow up with a new customer in the first month after they have bought from you.

The reality is that many customers never hear back from a business after they have made a purchase of a product or service.

Think about all the products and services you've bought in the last six months.
How often did you hear back from any of these businesses?

In most cases, not that often.

Remember "Out of mind" means no opportunity for further business and referrals from a customer.

One approach that can be very helpful is the 1-5-15 day follow up schedule.

(It's called this because you take specific follow up action on days 1, 5, 15)

Here's how it works:

Day 1: Within 24 hours of the first sale to a new customer send a short handwritten thank you note. "Dear Mr Smith, I enjoyed helping you choose your new widget. I trust you will enjoy years of enjoyment with it. Best wishes. Your Name."

A thank you note will take you about 2 minutes to write and is very rare in business today. It's a nice personal touch that shows a customer you appreciate their business.

Day 5: Approximately 5 days after the sale deliver a small present to the purchaser. It could be a small pot plant, a gift book, a couple of free movie passes. Enclose a short thank you note that says something like "Dear Mr Smith, I appreciate you being a customer and thought you would enjoy this small gift. With my compliments. Your name."

The gift you send doesn't have to cost a lot of money.

One car dealership sends their clients a personalised desk calendar that has a lovely colour photo of the customer sitting in their new car. Customers love this unique memento and often keep it on their desk. This leads to other people picking it up and talking about it. So this simple added value gift often results in further business for the car dealership.

Day 15: Approximately 15 days after the sale make a quick follow up phone call. Ask them how their widget is going and how they are finding it. This follow up call lets the customer know you value the relationship with them even after you've made the sale.

The 1-5-15 day follow up can be adapted to any business by changing the days you take follow up action on.

For instance, you may implement a 1-14-21 day follow up in your business.
Or perhaps yours is a 1-10-30 day follow up.

The key idea with this 1-5-15 follow up system is that you are in contact (in an added value way) three times within the first month of a new customer making a purchase.

This shows the customer that you are serious about treating them well and looking after them on a long term basis. This is a very rare experience for most customers!

'If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.' - Jeff Bezos

Action Exercise:
Develop a 1-5-15-30 day follow up plan you can use with your own customers.

What specific action steps will you take on the following days? (Feel free to change the days given here to other days if it would be more appropriate for your business.) Day 1, Day 5, Day 15.

Then use this follow up plan with all your new customers and notice what happens.

Graham McGregor is a marketing consultant and the creator of the 396 page 'Unfair Business Advantage Report.' www.theunfairbusinessadvantage.com (This is free and has now been read by business owners from 27 countries.) You can email him at the link above.

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A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham has had 36 years 'hands on' experience in sales and marketing. He has sold a range of services including advertising, sales training, personal development, life insurance, IT services, investment property and business consulting services.

Read more by Graham McGregor

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