followup techniques

Vacation Follow Up 101


Life’s a beach, and then your customer goes to one. Your customer’s vacation destination is great to know, but what’s more important is "When are they coming back?!"

When your customer returns from vacation, they’re refreshed, renewed, and maybe even rethinking their priorities - which may or may not include you. Your job is to make sure you remain at the top of their list. How?

Not by pouncing on them, like everyone else. The magic to vacation follow up is to communicate in a way that retains your project and relationship momentum without adding to the chaos or getting lost in the mess your customer faces when they return.

All it takes is a little know-how and a little work.

Here’s the know-how in 5 simple steps (the little bit of work is all you):

1. Start before the customer leaves. If you don’t know when they leave, how will you prepare for their return? Stay in touch with your customers throughout the spring and ask if they have vacation plans. Mark it on your calendar and set reminders for yourself to say goodbye.

Most importantly: Set an appointment to meet in person or on the phone (in person is best by 10 fold) a week after they return. Why a week? Because appointments too close to their return often get cancelled or postponed because they need time to catch up on their work.

2. Give a one-way goodbye. Two business days before your customer departs, send a goodbye email. Add a fun or funny graphic (send an Ace of Sales Email Greeting) that incorporates a reference to where they’re going or what they’ll be doing. (If they’re going wind sailing - use a wind sailing graphic. If they’re hiking the Grand Canyon... you get the point.)

Don’t talk about yourself. Don’t give advice about what they should do or see. Don’t bring up a past experience you had at the same destination. Don’t say anything about work or projects. Just say something them-focused like, “Have a blast with your family. Looking forward to seeing some great photos when you get back."

Then - at the close - state the date of your next appointment like this, “See you on July 24." It’s a subtle reminder that lowers your chance of a cancellation or postponement. Don’t say anything that prompts them to reply - they don’t have time. That’s why it’s called a one way goodbye.

3. Send a mid-vacation agenda. Business people check email on vacation - but don’t read email on vacation. Towards the end of your customer’s vacation, they’re starting to anticipate returning to work. They’re checking email for important items. Subject line is critical. Don’t say, “Agenda for our meeting." Title it, “3 Quick Big-Impact Items" or “4 ways I’m going to make your job easier this fall." They may not read the email itself, but your name, diligence, and intent to serve will ring clear and command respect.

4. Touch base at 3 days back. Remember, you’re already on their calendar for a meeting a week after their return. You don’t want to be the person that pounces on them in the first two days while they’re frantically catching up.

Call them on the 3rd day back. Don’t ask them if they read your agenda. They didn’t. Ask if they would like you to resend it. They will say yes, but still won’t read it. At least you reminded them they have a meeting with you in a couple days.

Really want to win their heart? Keep your call under 3 minutes.

5. Greet them back in style. On the same day you call - 3 days back -  whether you got them or their voicemail, send an Email Greeting from Ace of Sales using one of our “Vacation" designs simply to say, “Welcome back. Can’t wait to see your photos. Please tell me you had a relaxing, rocking time. Talk to you soon." Mention nothing about work - your 3 day back phone call did that.

Congratulations! You set the follow up bar impossibly high for any competitors and maybe even made their best friend look bad. They’ll no doubt meet you at the appointed time a week after their return and eagerly pick up exactly where you left off.