The Important Follow-Up Piece You Are Probably Missing

Follow-up is key to success. There is a reason they say the fortune is in the follow-up. Too often, sales and marketing professionals assume that once they have been turned down, they place that contact in their Declined folder, never to be seen again. If you are in that group of sales people, you are missing out on potential business and possible valuable assets.Point in fact. Business is all about building relationships. If your goal is a higher level of income and a better lifestyle, you need to be building relationships. Relationships don’t come from just the people you have already had success with. Relationships also need to be nurtured with those people or companies who didn’t accept your services.How many times in the past did you get a ‘no’ from a prospect and that was the end of that. You moved on. Their business card went to the back of the Rolodex. I was taught early on, “Some will, some won’t, move on.” That’s great for motivation, and for the reality of the numbers game. But moving on is missing the mark. That ‘no’ person or company needs to be put in the same valuable network with your ‘yes’ accounts. You can’t know now, if somewhere down the road, that relationship may be mutually productive.It is well worth your time and effort to stay in touch with that person, preferably in a manner that helps you to stand out. Your follow-up should not include badgering, or trying again for their business, it simply means maintaining a positive connection.Here is a list, in priority, of the best ways to stay in touch:1. Call them on the phone. This can be very brief. But a quick “Hello, just wanted to touch base” type phone call goes a long way. It doesn’t have to be a business call, in fact, it is better to call and ask how he or she is doing. You can mention a personal fact you previously touched on, i.e. you are both golfers, and you were thinking about him on your last golf course. If you haven’t already established finding something in common with your prospect, start adding that to your relationship building in the first place. Use the F.O.R.M. Acronym. F for family. O for occupation. R for recreation. M for money. A very brief conversation with anyone can cover those topics and build rapport.2. Send a personal greeting card, in the mail, not an e-card. Send a humorous card with a note inside mentioning a mutual interest, i.e. fishing, or wine. They will remember you.3. Email. Email has it’s place, but email may not to be read, and doesn’t help you to stand out. Email can be a good option as long as you are using #1 and #2 at least once throughout the year.4. Facebook post or message. This doesn’t count. Facebook postings fly by if they are even read, and a personal message for a professional contact is not appropriate.5. LinkedIn. This is a good medium to stay connected, but this doesn’t count towards your efforts to follow up. Establish a LinkedIn connection when you first meet, but don’t use it to communicate for a follow-up. What can be helpful, however, is if one of your connections may be helpful for them and with their consent, you can send a LinkedIn message to them noting that. Be helpful, they will remember you.Consider the time spent on relationship building and follow-up as an investment. Give it a high priority. Set up a tickler system that reminds you so you don’t forget, don’t rely on memory. Your follow-up skills go hand in hand with building your network. Be in service to your network, think of ways you can help them, and offer it. Connect other people even though it doesn’t help you at all. It’s no longer about what is in it for me, but how can I help you. Give to others, even if just a friendly gesture and your network will give back to you.You never know what’s ahead for you. Every new contact you make should be considered a valued part of your network. You have no idea today if there will be a reason tomorrow that you can help that person out, or if they can help you out. What we know for sure is, if you lose contact with every person that originally says no to you, you’ve walked away from a potential future business partner.

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