Regular readers will know that I believe that following up effectively is one of the 7 fundamental ways you can distinguish yourself and STAND OUT from the pack.
Most people only think about following up after they have met someone. I have previously recommended that you: Start your Follow Up BEFORE you meet someone for the first time.
It seems that to date I haven’t focused here on the more conventional timing of following up after you meet someone new.
You could do what most people do of course. That’s to just add the person to your mailing list and send them your newsletters. And hope that your conversation was so scintillating and your business card so impressive that they will contact you when they need your services. Or perhaps you think that your initial conversation with them was sufficient to inspire them to promote you to their friends, family and business connections.
Well done if this has been working for you to date. It doesn’t work for many people. Sending a quick follow up email doesn’t often have much effect either.
Much better to plan your follow ups. If you only meet new connections occasionally this is quite easy. If you attend networking events or business meetings and collect many business cards each week, you will need to be more systematic.
Choose who you want to follow up with. Not everyone you meet will typically be either a prospective client, introducer or influencer. Be clear who you want to follow up with.
Here’s what I try to do (although I do vary this if I have met dozens of accountants at a conference and they have asked or agreed to join my mailing list):
Within 24 hours
- Look them up on Linkedin and send a personalised connection request that references our meeting.
- Send an email referencing Linkedin and attaching anything I promised to send by way of follow up after we met. Sometimes I won’t be attaching anything I’ll be supplying a link, answering a question or effecting a connection to a third party.
- If I can find them on twitter I will follow them and start to reply or ReTweet occasional tweets that are relevant to our mutual interests.
A week later
- Phone or email them with a further follow up that builds on the previous one.
- Look for opportunities to reference a relevant piece of news, a blog post or website related to something that came up when we were speaking.
- Try to set up a meeting that would be of value and benefit to both parties.
- Look out for tweets and also Linkedin posts that I can share or comment on
A month later
- If we’ve not yet met up or spoken on the phone, I’ll call within the month of our first meeting.
- Aim to send something else of value to THEM by post or email to help cement the new relationship.
If the contact has expressed interest in The Inner Circle or in being mentored I will continue to keep in touch using the drip, drip, drip approach. I will ask for a definite yes or no when we speak. But here’s the thing. I will not just leave a lead in the absence of a reply. I accept that most people are really busy. I know how valuable it can be to keep in touch as I have won work in the past through this approach. And I have engaged people to provide services for me because they have adopted this approach too.
My follow up KIT (Keep In Touch) can be summarised as 24, 7, 30. Take action within 24 hours (not too fast, as that feels a bit too eager and odd), follow up within a week (7 days) and then again within a month (30 days).