In September we discussed positioning your business for success this busy season.
This month it’s all about the follow-up. It’s one sure fire way to land new business, discover opportunities and expand the possibilities for your business or project to flourish.
Even though the simple action of following up can lead to incredible connections, business deals and long term mutually beneficial relationships, many people seem to resist this process or don’t have an organized follow-up system in place.
Whether you’re just returning from a conference, reaching out to build a relationship with a prospect you’ve been dreaming of adding to your client list or approaching a potential mentor, follow-up is a key ingredient.
If you’re not making follow-up a top priority, I encourage you to develop a simple system for following up, and hold yourself accountable.
Here are a few simple steps to ignite your initial outreach & follow-up efforts:
- Before reaching out clarify with yourself why you you’d like to connect with this person
- Be clear, transparent and to the point in the delivery of your outreach efforts (It was a pleasure to meet you at the trade show, so and so referred me to you and i’d like to set aside time to discuss xyz etc.)
- Open up a new event on your Outlook, Gmail or Entourage calendar. Add contact information to the body of the event for the person you are reaching out to and keep a running list by date in the description section of the out reach efforts you made and what happened (LVM, spoke with assistant Lori Smith, contact on Aug 13th after return from vacation etc.) with a date next to the action/outcome
- Continue scheduling this event for a future date and check your calendar regularly to make sure that you’re following up. It can be helpful to schedule certain days of the week and times of the day to handle your follow-up calls/emails
- You might try one of several different ways to reach someone: a phone call, email, hand written note, message via LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, visit their website, read and post on their blog
- Be conscious of the time between each follow up effort. You want to remain consistent and refrain from being annoyingly persistent .. this is important! Use your own internal guidance/compass here. There have been times where i’ve felt that I should not try a contact again and have said to myself ‘ok, i’ll call one more time’ and then voila! They answer the phone, I get the meeting and it works out for everyone. Tune in and trust yourself!
- Build up your confidence.. if you find you keep putting someone off to follow-up with on a later date, check in with yourself about this. Is the resistance coming from a lack of self confidence, a lack of clarity as to what you desire to come from connecting with this person or does it simply mean that this is someone you need to take out of your follow up system?
- Know when to let go of a lead. Again, trust you’re guidance, and if you’ve been trying to reach someone with no response the best action may be to simply let it go.
I cannot begin to tell you the number of amazing contacts i’ve made and doors which have opened because of my consistent effort to follow-up. I’ve built incredible relationships, had the opportunity to work on amazing projects and have captured money others are leaving on the table simply because I had a daily system in place for following up.
I’d love to hear how you organize your follow up efforts. What is working for you? Do you use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) program? If so, what program works best for your business? What amazing opportunities have presented themselves due to your own follow-up efforts?
Thank you for checking in! I look forward to reading and responding to your comments!
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