Follow-up is a superb way to increase your sales and profits and is very easy to understand and undertake.
So lets start with the Follow Up basics.
You’ve met someone and they have shown genuine interest in what you have to offer. You exchange cards and part company with promises to get back in touch. But clearly you will not be doing any business if you don’t get back in contact.
Sadly that is where many potential business opportunities fail. No further contact is made.
Now it might be that you feel getting back in touch feels a bit pushy. OK, but if you aren’t prepared to push at this stage there is no business to be had. You have to make the effort to get back in touch.
This is how I do it.
Drop them an email saying how good it was to meet them and say that if they are still interested in (whatever) you could meet for a coffee to discuss the opportunities.
This sounds far more friendly than booking a formal meeting with them.
Alternatively link with them on LinkedIn and go through a similar process.
To make it less pushy you could try sending them an article, a pdf, workbook or whatever that provides some added value about the topic you talked about. In many cases this feels more natural and is a great way to demonstrate some value in advance of meeting.
More Follow Up Opportunities
Of course following up after a first meeting isn’t the only time you should use this technique. Another would be after sending a quote. Give it a few days and drop them a note asking if they received the quote OK and if they had any further questions. This isn’t pushy .. it is helpful.
And if after a few weeks you don’t get a reply follow up with another email, call or whatever is appropriate.
The thing is people get busy. Even if they meant to contact you they get too busy to answer you. And after a while they get embarrassed about not replying earlier so don’t let you know.
But if you drop them a carefully worded note the ice is broken and they will often reply.
No Isn’t Always The End
Even if you failed to get the work it doesn’t mean you give up. Give it a while and drop them a note asking how the project is going and if there is anything else they need help with. You’ll be surprised how many times this has worked for me.
Sometimes there have been problems and the project didn’t start or it folded after a while. In this case you are seen as a possible answer to a prayer and a way to get back on track.
On other occasions I’ve dropped a line only to be asked to quote for other work that I have then been successful in getting.
One of the first big pieces of FE consultancy I obtained came 17 months after I’d originally quoted. My quote was too high and the work was shelved. Then 17 months later, after several follow up sessions with newspaper articles, some free advice etc, I was asked to meet with the CEO at short notice. Five minutes after arrival I was being asked when I could start. That first piece of work was just under the threshold for going out to tender. The next piece was bigger but by that time we had a track record.
Two years later the income from this one client was six figures and we were asked to quote many more times after that.
If we hadn’t have used Follow Up none of this would have happened.