Does your follow-up suck?
or are these people you are trying to follow-up suckers? 🙂
3 true stories – is it me, or are some people really impolite? 😮
Do you recognize this?
You get a call from a person, let’s call her Lindsey, who is interested in your services and you have a pleasant conversation.
There is a click and the person agrees to work with you (sometimes things go fast… or not) so you schedule the appointment, book a meeting room, send some preliminary homework and you prepare yourself too….
Then comes the day, you are on your way to the place where you are supposed to meet.
And she calls in sick (s**t happens). You agree to schedule another date upon your arrival at the office.
And then you don’t hear anything about this person anymore. This is what happened to my client Peter.
Another true story: a guy, let’s call him Ken, calls because he has heard great things about my client Sandra. Great! She’s happy.
He agrees to work with her and they schedule the date for their first official meeting.
Two days prior to the meeting, he cancels. My client follows up fiercely and politely.
After several attempts, he finally sends an email: “When I do not pick up the phone, that means I am busy.”
(Huh? And how about returning the call??)
Last story: a coach, let’s call him Pat, is specialized in some kind of high performance coaching. He does pretty well, but his online visibility sucks (his words).
Indeed, he could use advice on his website and social media presence, so I make him an offer.
As always, I insure a good follow-up.
Somebody once said to me:
“If you do not follow up at least 7 times, you are a loser”.
So that’s what I did. No reaction. Until finally he sends me an email: “I did not reply to your mails, I never do with unimportant people.”
HA! Now don’t you just love this coach?! Unbelievable huh?
Now two of the most important lessons I have learned in life:
- Don’t take things personally
- Don’t take yourself so seriously
This combination allowed me cope better with people like Lindsey, Ken and Pat. I still think they are not showing respect (euphemism 🙂 ).
I still think this is not the way you should treat other people. I still think it is not very smart to treat your possible ambassador, fan, client (because, that is who I can be, or clients of mine like Sandra and Peter)…
And because I strongly believe in gratefulness, respect, integrity, politeness, … and your network… I decided to write this blog post.
Also because I want to encourage people like Sandra and Peter, and YOU!
Maybe also because I do not cope that well yet :- ):-)
Anyway, you are not like Lindsey, Ken or Pat. I am sure of that.
I’m sure you are good at following up (either which side of the table you are sitting – buyer or seller). Still…
Here are 6 ideas on how to become remarkable at following-up:
- Do it immediately
When you meet someone at a networking event or the like, connect with them within 48h and add a personal note mentioning something particular that was said or that happened during the event, so the person will know who you are.
People tend to forget you 😮
- Give value
Before you follow-up (face2face, phone, online…) reflect on how you could be of help to this person.
Does he or she have a problem that you can solve? Do you know somebody in your network that might be of interest to him or her?…
- Don’t judge too quickly
It’s not because a person hasn’t returned your call or email, they are rude or ignorant. They might just be extremely busy or have forgotten about your mail.
The average person can get a few hundred emails a day. That makes it pretty tough to respond to all of them, and things naturally fall to the bottom of the list.
If you don’t get a response, it doesn’t mean that someone’s ignoring you.
- Be polite and humble
Don’t get mad. Just maintain an extremely polite tone throughout the entire email thread or phone calls.
Showing that you’re friendly and that you understand how busy your contact is, is a good way to keep him or her interested (and not angry).
- Don’t exaggerate
As I’ve mentioned, someone told me you should follow-up at least 7 times. Let’s be a little flexible here. But more important: following up regularly does not mean every day.
Be patient. You’ll only irritate the person you’re trying to reach.
- Just ask
Something I also do when I tried to get in touch with someone who isn’t returning my calls or mails, I just tell them: “Please do not hesitate to send me a short STOP note if you don’t want me to follow up anymore. I know you are a busy person and I do not want to waste your time. ” (and you don’t want to waste your own time either :-))
Most people will respond in one way or another. Some of them never do, like the Lindseys mentioned above 🙂
But until you hear that “STOP”, it’s your responsibility to keep trying.
And if you wonder why you should keep trying? I cannot count the number of people who have mentioned: “Greet, it is thanks to your good follow-up that I have become your client.” Now, is that a good enough reason for you?
Your turn, do you have stories like mine or my clients’?
Or extra ideas on how to follow-up? Just let me know.