Your phone lights up with an alert. It’s a big new lead from your website! This is always an exciting moment, and gives you a nice little afternoon buzz, not unlike that third cup of coffee.

You immediately call the lead and kick off the next steps to turn that lead into another happy customer. But somewhere along the way — usually right after you provide that customer with an estimate and they tell you they need time to think it over — your enthusiasm runs out.

It was so easy and exciting when the lead was brand new. Why is so hard now to follow up and chase after that opportunity? You tell yourself for the 15th time that you should get on the phone  and call them, but hey…another new lead just came in from your website.

Sound familiar? Are you gung-ho when it comes to chasing new leads, but reluctant when it comes to following up with customers? Even when time allows, do you feel resistance towards following up? Well, you’re certainly not the only one.

Many business owners only follow up once, follow up inconsistently, or never follow up at all. But chasing down leads and ignoring customers after the estimate is provided is a big mistake. It’s a waste of marketing dollars and it’s a waste of your time and energy.

After all, you’ve already paid to bring in the leads and spent time and energy providing the estimates. Why leave it at that when as many as eight out of 10 sales are closed after the fourth contact, and your customers may need as many as seven touches before they’re ready to say “Yes?”

You’ve already paid marketing dollars and spent time providing estimates, and you know customers need nurturing (especially when it comes to high dollar decisions). Why don’t you follow up?

Maybe you feel like you’re bothering your customers. Maybe you’re too busy. Maybe you just assume if they’re interested, they’ll reach out to you. Maybe you don’t like hearing the word “No,” or feeling a twinge of rejection. Whatever the reason, it’s time to set yourself up for success and claim the fortune you’re leaving on the table.

Making The Right Action The Easy Action

Following up is kind of like eating healthy: we know it’s good for us, but we tend to avoid or resist it. We start out the new year with the very best intentions, but by February, we’re already back to our old ways and eating whatever’s easiest, not whatever’s healthiest.

We may think, “Well, I’m just not a health nut, so it’s harder for me.” But do people who succeed in maintaining a healthy lifestyle just have greater willpower than the rest of the world? No. They don’t leave success up to willpower.

Willpower is a muscle, and like any muscle it can have moments of weakness. It can get tired and fail us. You can’t rely on willpower alone when you’re making a big lifestyle shift or making a decision to choose the hard, but good thing. If you do, you’ll never permanently make the shift; you’ll revert to whatever’s easiest. Instead, you have to set yourself up for success by making the good action the easier, less painful thing to do.

With health and diet, that means only buying foods that align with your health plan so there aren’t any processed foods or junk foods in your house when your willpower is weak.

It means planning and cooking healthy meals ahead of time, so that meal prep and cleanup is done for the week. When healthy alternatives are easy to grab and ready to go, you’re less likely to let the day’s events and time crunches send you to McDonald’s for a quick bite.

It means taking healthy alternatives with you when you go to an event where you know only hot dogs, chips, nacho cheese, and pizza will be served.

And it means finding new, healthier ways to satisfy cravings. If you crave salt, keep some nuts in your truck. If you have a sweet tooth, keep single serving dark chocolate squares around or stock up on your favorite fruit.

It’s the same with follow-ups and other business tasks that you tend to resist. The trick is to make doing the right thing easy and mindless, so you don’t even have to think about it. And the best way to do that in business is to automate the process.

With a little effort up front, you can create a semi-automatic system to make sure follow-ups are happening consistently in your business. Setting up a system should accomplish the following things:

  • Eliminate the resistance you feel
  • Set the positive action in motion
  • Ensure the tough stuff’s getting done
  • Save you time
  • Increase your marketing ROI
  • Provide the nurturing your customers need to make a decision

If you’d rather not mess with designing the process, tools like Closing Commander can do the work for you. Either way, automating follow-ups means you’ll know they are happening, but you won’t have to make yourself do them. They’ll be happening in the background, and the only action you’ll have to take is to add the customer to the system if they don’t say “Yes” or “No” on the spot.

Effective automation of repetitive tasks wipes out the need for willpower and sets you up for success.

Have You Set Yourself Up For Success?

No matter what your goals are for your business or personal life this year, you need to make sure you’ve set yourself up for success. If you’ve stumbled all through the first few months of the year and you feel like you’re just not up to the challenge, give yourself a break. Your willpower hasn’t failed you, your systems have.

Following up is just one business task you can automate. Think about the tools and tactics out there that can make it easier for you to succeed, and put them into practice — after all, no one’s willpower is unending. The goal is to work smarter, not harder, and to make the right action, the easy action. Here’s to your success!