A couple of weeks ago I invited you to network with me at the Virginia Women’s Business Conference and did you ever! I met hundreds of amazing businesswomen and now I’m busy following up.
What about you? Are you following up with all the great contacts you made at that conference, networking event, holiday party?
If not, I get it. Second to asking for the business, following up is everyone’s least favorite part of the sales process. We know it has to be done, but we put it at the bottom of the list anyway.
Here’s the BIG problem with that: If you let prospects go cold, it’s doubly hard to get them back.
Think of it like having an amazing first date—I’m talking about sparks flying everywhere—and then...radio silence for a week. How likely are you to agree to a second date when he finally gets around to texting you again on Friday night?
Following up after that initial sales contact is like communicating after a great first date. It confirms that you are both ready to take the next step and it gets everyone on the same page. So, don’t let the moment pass you by.
Best practices for following up.
Now that we’ve established that you must follow up, let’s discuss how to make it happen:
1. Time management.
As soon as you know you’re going to a networking event, conference, or prospecting opportunity of any kind, schedule time with yourself for following up. You have already pulled up your calendar to block off time for the event, so why not also block off time immediately after for follow up?
This is important because if you are making the most of your event, you will feel tired after spending 24+ hours learning, socializing, traveling, and selling yourself. Or you may be one of those weirdos (meant as a term of endearment) who feels energized and excited to dive into new projects after networking all weekend. Either way, you don’t want great leads to get lost in the shuffle.
2. Stick to the 48-hour rule.
Do follow-up’s no later than 48 hours after your event. If the event is small, reach out within 24 hours. Following up on a larger event can take longer (I took the full 48 hours to follow up with my 200+ new contacts last week).
Do not rationalize your procrastination: “Maybe waiting longer to connect makes me seem busier, more elusive, and thus, more valuable.” No! Now is not the time to play coy.
Remember your #1 goal is to stay top of mind. The onus is on you to make yourself memorable, not for your prospects to track you down. If you wait longer than two days to reconnect, you risk being forgotten. Or worse, you risk leaving the impression that you are difficult to work with.
3. Following up is not one-size-fits-all.
Follow-up does not look the same for everyone. You may be tempted to cut corners when you have a bunch of leads by sending a boilerplate email. Resist this temptation too.
One of the easiest ways to connect, especially with cooler leads, is on LinkedIn. But if you see that a prospect just barely has a LinkedIn page, then an email, phone call, or even a handwritten note (old-school!) is probably a better option.
Finally, as you’re following up, keep track of your progress with each contact. Email tools like Mailchimp and Boomerang can help by automatically reminding you to connect with people.
Following up is only the first step in helping you jumpstart your sales. To really work your leads, you need to start putting systems that work for you. At Sales UpRising, we’re full of ideas that will help you capitalize on your golden sales opportunities.
Contact me today and let’s get going!