What do you need to know about follow-up?
Following-up with connections, marketing campaigns, networking, or phone calls is more a matter of discipline and time management, Ninety-nine out of one hundred people I know really do not know how to follow-up. Most of the lack is due to not knowing what to say or thinking they are begging for the business. In reality, you go to events and do marketing campaigns to get business and you need to follow-up. You cannot wait until someone else does it, you may wait forever. Even when you have a marketing campaign on the go, you still need to follow-up with people that have responded. The key here is that you do business with people not organizations. You must be in touch with the person that will be a conduit into the purchasing process for their organization. It really does not matter what level you enter into a company, what does matter is that you enter into it.
People in all positions within a company will be able to help you get to know the right person for decision making. So don’t think you do not need to follow-up based on what the title is on the card. CEOs may run a company, but others work in it and they make the requests for services and products they need to do their job more effectively.
Here are some tips that may help you to follow-up:
o When networking at an event, only collect cards and contact information from people whom you want to do business. Email them that evening or early the next morning indicating you would like to set up a meeting (phone or face-to-face) to find out more about their company. (Never mention the word sell on this first encounter).
o When attending a leads group and you receive a referral, ask if you can be introduced by a three way call to break the ice. This way you get a great introduction from a third party. The third party introduction gives you more credibility than if you introduced yourself. The three way call is also a way of knowing whether this is a true lead or just a card someone picked up.
o When sending out letters of introduction, make sure you only send a maximum of five per day so it is easy for you to follow-up. Wait a minimum of five but no longer than ten days to follow-up. The follow-up can take the form of a phone call if you have so indicated in the letter or it may be an email. I would recommend a phone call to eliminate all the non-prospects from your list. The call can be as simple as “……did you receive my letter and the insertion (a small token of some kind)? I would like to take only 3 minutes of your time to set an appointment with you if you think what I have to offer may work for your company.” This is a good starting point for setting meetings.
o When being referred by another client, ask if you can use their name in the conversation. Make sure you can or the referral may not work out the same way, it will be too much of a cold call
The most important part is calendarizing your follow-up calls. Put the calls in your schedule along with the names and numbers of those you are calling. Force yourself to complete the task each day. Connecting with one or two people each day will give you 365 to 730 people in a calendar year. Surely, you will be able to get some business out of that many calls.