We all agree that the fortune is in the follow up… right? The question is how much follow up is the right amount? How much follow up is too much? I believe that there is a fine line between being professionally persistent and a pain in the …… (you fill in the blank).
Over the years I have developed a strategy that seems to work pretty well and brings pretty consistent results and has supported relationships to be developed. One of the easiest ways to determine your strategy is to simply ask the right questions. Once you’ve done that and received the answers, you simple follow up at the right time. Here are some questions that have helped me to determine the timeline:
- Is the opportunity immediate, short term, or long term?
- What’s the timeline for short term and long term?
- Shall I follow up with you in a week? In a month? In a quarter?
I recommend a combination of phone calls and emails in your follow up activity. It’s a little bit harder to establish a relationship through email alone, the personal touch of the phone call really does make a positive difference. In this era of technology, don’t hide behind your emails… pick up the phone!!
I also suggest you lead with a professional approach, and in your first meeting (phone, Skype, face-to-face) try to establish a professional, yet personal rapport with your prospect or client. The easiest way to do that…. ask them questions!! People love to talk about themselves, so just ask the questions and be a good listener. Here are some questions that have helped me to establish rapport:
- So tell me about your roles and responsibilities?
- What do you enjoy most about what you do?
- What do you do to maintain work life balance?
- What’s the #1 thing you would like to see improved? (This is an assumption that you are prospecting for their business. Look for the #1 value your company can add. Remember it’s about them and their needs)
- How would you rate our service on a scale of 1 to 10? What do we need to do to get a 10? (This is an assumption that you are talking with a current client)
So, remember to be consistent, stay professional, build personal rapport (remember people do business with people they like) and don’t cross that thin line.
Happy Following Up!!