I often meet with business owners who are trying desperately to increase their income. They spend a lot of money on marketing and advertising, they invest in great websites, they do everything they can to get more customers in the door or online and they succeed. But they have one major problem that lets all of that good work down - they are terrible at following up with their potential customers.

This means that they might submit a quote to a customer, which they supply, but then they do nothing else to follow the quote up. Often they don't even check to make sure that the customer has received it. In this age of email, it is surprising how many quotes end up in junk mail or spam boxes. Because we are so used to businesses not following up, we get frustrated, assume they didn't follow up and we contact someone else.

I reviewed an article recently that stated that almost ninety percent of small businesses failed to follow up quotes that they send out. This is a staggering figure when you think about it. Another report that I reviewed indicated that sales could be increased by up to 40% simply by giving a customer a follow up call to make sure they have received the quote and to answer any questions that they might have.

Now this doesn't apply to every kind of business I know, but it does apply to a very large proportion including trades and services as well as businesses that sell higher priced products. When was the last time you had a tradesperson ring you to see if you received the quote or to ask if would like to proceed with a quote?

Of course the problem is that most people are busy, especially small business owners. But let's be honest, who is too busy to get another sale simply by making a phone call? I believe very strongly that any business that is extremely good at following up on quotes is going to get far more than their share of new customers.

If you are too busy, why not pay someone else to follow up on your quotes? I think that this is perfectly acceptable, as long as the person doing the follow up has some idea regarding the service or product so that they can answer a few simple questions. In fact today there are numerous businesses springing up who provide this exact service.

Getting in front of a customer and providing a quote or proposal means you are very close to the sale, but only if you do the right things from that critical time on. Become relentless and thorough when it comes to following up and your bank balance will reinforce that this is a smart move for your business.