You’re busy. I’m busy. We’re all busy. And yet most of us are looking for new clients, or to do more business with existing clients. So why do we often fail to follow up?
1. A few months ago I met a young woman at an event. She was eager to make connections with people in some of the networks where I’m active. I liked her business idea, so I suggested she contact me in a few days. Did she? No. Opportunity lost.
2 . Recently I submitted a proposal to a prospect via email. I heard nothing back, not even a quick note to say, “Thanks, received.” So I waited a few days and phoned. Guess what? My proposal was sitting in her spam folder. If I hadn’t followed up, she might have thought I hadn’t bothered to send a proposal.
3 . Last month I almost made a huge follow-up faux pas. When I lead my workshops, I ask people to fill in a feedback form. At the bottom, it says, “If you are interested in a workshop for your organization, please share your phone number here.” Catching up on my filing, I realized that a participant had indicated TWO MONTHS ago that she was interested in a workshop. Oops. I followed up immediately and apologized for my error. Guess what? I’ll be doing a workshop for her company this spring.
In my experience, clients and prospects appreciate your following up. They may want to move ahead on a project, but are bogged down with competing priorities. So, your follow-up call helps them to stay on track.
My favorite way to follow up is by phone. These days, email is so ubiquitous that a phone call stands out. And if your original email got trapped in Spam Land, what makes you think your follow-up email won’t suffer the same fate?
When I call, I don’t badger the person by saying what might be on my mind: “Hey, have you read the proposal that I spent three hours on?” Instead I say: “I was wondering if you’ve had a chance to look at my proposal for your podcast project. April is looking pretty busy,
and I want to be sure to set aside time for you.” In this way, you’re seen as helpful, not aggressive.
So, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and follow up. Even when you’re busy.
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