How much does it cost NOT to follow up?

Do you have a follow-up system?

Do you have a follow-up system?

Me: “Jack, how was your aunt Jenny’s house hunting trip?”
Jack: “Oh, it was successful, she found a house, made an offer and she’s closing at the end of the month”
Me: “Great!”
Jack: ” …but we didn’t buy it through the agent that you referred us to because we didn’t end up connecting…”
Me: “WHAT?”

A few weeks ago, my friend Jack asked me for an agent recommendation for her aunt Jenny who was moving to my State (Virginia). Since Jenny wanted to buy a house outside of my area of expertise, I arranged for a referral with an agent whom I knew.

I got Jenny’s info, called the agent about the referral, and made sure that they both connected.

Jenny’s home buying was fairly straight forward

She knew what she wanted, she had made a one week trip to find it, and she had planned to pay cash for the home.

And sure enough, she came, she met with an agent, saw about 4 or 5 houses, made a cash offer above list price and settled within 4 weeks.

There was just one big problem

The problem was – Jenny didn’t meet with the agent that I referred to her. Why?

Because the referral agent didn’t follow up with her … :(

The referral agent didn’t follow up with Jenny

How much did the agent lose by not making one phone call?
In this case, about $4,000.

And how much did it cost me?

A small referral fee and the embarrassment with my friend Jack who will most certainly hesitate to ask for help from me in the future. Plus, possibly any future business from Jenny.

Boy, did I learn a valuable lesson

How much money have I left on the table through the years because I didn’t consistently follow up with a potential client? Sometimes we focus so much on acquiring new clients that when we get the opportunity to increase our ROI (return on investment) – we’re too busy to actually do the one thing that will get us closer to making money: consistently following up.

To be fair, most of us are prompt to return the first phone call and then we agree to “talk again next week”. And poof! Off goes that good intention.

So, what’s the solution? Well, consistently following up of course!

How can we follow up consistently?

A follow up system is essential to consistently following up. And I don’t mean a fancy, expensive piece of software. I simply mean a written guideline with steps to follow EVERY SINGLE time. It could be as simple as:

“After every phone or email conversation about or with a potential client, make an appointment in my calendar to get back to them. Repeat.”


Having a system that we follow EVERY SINGLE time avoids having to remember loosey-goosey promises of “we’ll touch base next week” (In which “next week” turns into “maybe never unless I happen to remember at some point”).

And I’m sure that when we do this simple thing of following up consistently, we’ll start seeing better returns from our marketing efforts.

Next Step

Do you have a system for following up consistently? Please share it with us in the comments below.

About Marina Brito

World Traveler Extraordinaire
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19 Responses to How much does it cost NOT to follow up?

  1. Jason Diehl says:

    I don’t have a system myself, but this is important for every business no matter what kind of business you are doing.

    I’ll look forward to seeing any responses on methods that people use.

  2. Marina Brito says:

    Hi Jason,

    Thanks for stopping by. Do you not have a system at all? Perhaps you use your email inbox as a reminder of who you need to respond to? I know I owe you a response because I have your email in my inbox… :)

  3. Merlin Smith says:

    Great article and so true. In one of the courses I took many years ago, there was a quote I have printed and taped on my computer, (as a reminder) and that is “The Fortune is in the Follow-up”. After I make contact with a client, I immediately put the followup on my calender in outlook with a reminder, or if is through Realty Generatoe, I use the reminder they have on the website.

    • Marina Brito says:

      Hi Merlin!

      Good to see you here. :)

      It seems that the trick is to make sure to get a timely reminder to follow-up. But one still needs to remember to enter the “date” on the calendar after every client contact.

  4. Merlin Smith says:

    How do I get my picture to show up. LOL

  5. Oh yes. What a painful lesson to learn!
    It’s very hard too when the people you refer to don’t follow up for you! But it is also very annoying when I don’t follow up on the people I’m supposed to.

    Oh, got a fly, someone just came to mind. Time to follow up…

    Neil Smith@Life Insurance New Zealand recently posted..Saving is good for usMy Profile

  6. You’ve made a really important point here. I own shops offline and I always follow the same system when dealing with clients, no corners cut, no alterations made. I instill the same guidelines into my staff and it means steps are never missed (unless someone makes a mistake). On the whole we do well with the strategy. Definitely have a stragtegy and stick to it.

    Enjoy the journey.

    mandy@learntoblog recently posted..Passionate Focused ThinkingMy Profile

  7. Grayson Hodge says:

    Painful lesson, easy remedy. Calendar the next call when you hang up the phone the first time. Calendar an interim email while you’re at it. If you aren’t using a CRM software, then at a minimum you can calendar it in your Outlook.

    • Marina Brito says:

      Hi Grayson,

      Thanks for stopping by. :)

      You are very right. It should be as simple as entering a reminder as soon as one finishes up a phone call or email. I wonder why it seems to be so elusive?

  8. Jason Diehl says:

    I think what makes it so elusive is the new client or contact called you or contacted you while you were doing something else interrupting what you were doing. When you finish with that you go back to what you were doing, maybe even get interrupted again. Being busy is what makes things difficult. Balancing all of it.

    What I need to start doing is:
    A) Set a time to follow up WITH the client. Include them in the process, don’t just wait until you are finished and think to yourself “Hmm I should follow up in a week.” Ask the prospect “I’d like to follow up with you next week, what’s the best time to do so?” And for those cavers out there also ask Yes/Yes questions. “Would Monday or Tuesday be better?”, “Yes Mondays are busy for me as well so I’ll follow up Tuesday do you prefer mornings or afternoons?”, “Excellent I look forward to speaking to you Tuesday afternoon.” Now the prospect is expecting your follow up, everyone understands the expectations.
    B) While discussing it with them add it to your Outlook, CRM, Task list, etc. Don’t wait till you are off the phone, Don’t let something else potentially interrupt you. Start adding the reminder when you start asking the questions. If it was email communication it’s usually easy to at the very least just click it and add it to the calendar. Even if you forget to add it to your main CRM or something because of an interruption, at least you got it in your calendar attached to your email, I don’t see your email going anywhere soon.

    Hopefully these steps will help me better Follow Up with prospects.

    • Marina Brito says:


      I like your idea of incorporating the follow up onto the conversation itself. It should work great because the client is involved, and informed, and expecting your follow up so it wouldn’t be a surprise.

      I’m sure that it would also help make us look more professional in their eyes.

      How’s the follow up going, by the way? :)

  9. Sanjesh says:

    hi Marina….this has always been a bug bear for me mostly being out and about.

    Some days I input directly into Outlook after hanging up. Other busy(interrupted!) days, I scribble in my note pad and load them all into Outlook before switching off my computer at the end of the day.

    Have also downloaded a CRM recommend from the Cave discussions, Zoho, trialling it..slowly.

    But yes the reminders don’t jump from my brain into here… still waiting for that app :)

    The key is being diligent with the process, whatever it may be. Also like Jason’s comment on doing it while still on the phone.

    • Marina Brito says:


      Please let me know when you find the magic app that inputs reminders/tasks/calendar events directly from our brains!

      Keep us in the loop with how you’re doing with following up.

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