Do you have a system in place for following up?
How good are you at following up with people? Do you only follow up when you’re interested? Or do you follow up on a consistent basis to ensure that you are viewed like a professional should be?
IF you have not given this much thought, you should, because how you follow up speaks volumes about you as a professional as well as an individual. Courtesy should always be an applied mechanic of professionalism and that includes following up.
Whether you are following up to someone who has solicited you or you are following up to someone you contacted first; the key is: Follow up or else the thought you may invoke may not be that which you want to have your professional image represented by. Who knows who that person may follow up with in their network about you when you don’t follow up with them. Don’t risk it; customers are too precious to lose. And because of your non follow up mannerism, you may never know what it cost you simply because you did not to follow up properly.
Learn more about the importance and how to follow up with people who are expecting to hear from you with some sort of reply.
Image and branding are everything to selling your product today. Even more so if you are the product.
Take a look at this case scenario and see how you would react if you were the one waiting for the follow up.
Case Scenario :
Jack calls Jill to tell her about a new service he is offering to businesses who use social media to gain customers. Jill gives Jack 10 minutes of her time to explain the service and Jill becomes interested. She then tells Jack to prepare her a proposal and email her some information. Jack spends about 1-2 hours of billable time to prepare a qualified proposal and sends the requested info to Jill.
Two days go by and Jill has not responded even to confirm receipt of the prepared information. So, Jack calls Jill, as he should follow up, to make sure she got the proposal. Jill says, “Oh yeah I got it the day you sent it”. Ah, says Jack. Then a few more days go by. Jack sends a quick follow up email asking Jill if she has any questions. Jill doesn’t reply and 2-3 more days go by.
Does this sound like the story of your life or what?
Jack waits another day or so and follows up by phone. Jill let’s it go to voice mail. Jack waits another day or so and still no reply. Jill has gotten busy and has lost interest in the service. Jack evaluates the lead and decides he has already invested 6-8 hours of billable time in this process and let’s it go while sending a thank you note to Jill for time already invested on both sides (i.e. 10 minutes Jill; 6-8 hours for Jack).
Now mind you Jack’s time is billed at $100. an hour for his expertise as a qualified consultant. He has now lost at least $700. worth of business trying to gain you as a customer. Then about 6 weeks or so afterwards, Jill is looking for a consultant to perform the same service that Jack had offered her earlier. Jill is out and about searching and shares with her network the request. Remember, it is always a small world we live in when it comes to bumping into somebody.
For the sake of time and giving you this readers digest style, quick analogy; Jill ask for a consultant who performs this particular service from someone who is in her network and also happens to be in Jack’s. Word gets out and the consultant request makes it back to Jack. After the disappointment, Jack explains, no thanks I’ve been down that road with her before and don’t wish to return to the same fruitless path. Explanations are requested and Jack is put in a corner being asked why not consider its new business for you. Jack takes the high road as a professional and declines a further explaination. Or at least, for your sake, you hope he does.
Here’s how you should follow up to any request while maintaining the required industry standard of professionalism in following up.
1) Be courteous always as you would want someone to treat you
2) Provide a firm yes, no, maybe and mean it
3) As soon as you receive information that you have requested; send a quick email or give that person a call to confirm receipt
4) Communicate how you want to proceed for future calls and emails
5) Maintain the relationship and offer a refferal if you have one to give
6) Keep in touch on a systematic basis that will allow you to have a future prospect if in fact this one did not pan out
7) Give a clearly defined ending to this particular request and always be professional courteous when tabling the project.
Hope this helps with maintaining your professional image when dealing with following up.
If you need further tips and consulting please feel free to send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. My rates are reasonable and my services are varied.