So many times we leave money on the table, contracts unsigned, without even knowing it. Why? Because we didn't follow-up. You've heard the saying “The fortune's in the follow-up”. Well, nothing could be more true. We've all done it, not returned a call or email in a timely manner, forgotten to call back altogether. Then, because so much time passed, we were embarrassed to make the call. If we could just get better about making the calls in a timely manner, we'd be amazed at how easily our business grows.
With that in mind, I wanted to share my top tips for following up and mining the gold in your business.
1. Following up after networking events. Meeting new prospects and referral partners at networking events is great, but if you don't keep in touch and remind them about you, within a few days it will be like you never met. Within 48 hours of a networking event, connect with your new contacts on social media. Friend them on Facebook, Follow them on Twitter, Connect with them on Linked In.
Send a follow up email letting them know how much you enjoyed meeting them and you'd like to learn more about their business. Invite them for coffee or lunch. If you made any promises (ie “I go to a lot of networking events, I'd be happy to send you a list of the groups I belong to”) make sure you do it. Be sure to include links to your website and social media sites so they can easily find out more about you.
If they're a good referral partner, keep in touch on a regular basis, at least once a month, with a phone call, email, coffee or thank you card so that you stay front of mind.
If they're a good prospect for your business, ask their permission to add them to your email list. Send them a “It was nice to meet you” card. Follow up with them by phone or email at least once every couple of months. Let them know if you have any specials or events going on. Personally invite them to join you at another networking event.
2. Following up with former clients. This is another gold mine. If they've already worked with you and had a great experience, they can become a wonderful referral source. Ask them to write a testimonial for your website or a recommendation for you on LinkedIn. Within a week of completing their work with you (while you're still fresh in their mind and they're still happy with your service) ask for their referrals. Offer a referral bonus to encourage them.
Follow up with them on at least once every 3-4 months to see if they need additional work or they know anyone who might be in need of your services. Once they get in the habit of referring business to you, it will start to come naturally for them.
Once you make follow up a regular part of your work week, and yes, even add it to your marketing plan. You'll start to see your business grow rapidly with all the new contacts your making and all the new prospects that start to flow your way.