Why Your Lack Of Follow Up Is Costing You Dearly
Picture this. You head to a bar tomorrow night after work for a networking event, you have a few drinks, engage in both some inspiringly motivational discussions, and the awfully awkward types. Maybe flick around a few business cards, add a one or two of the “I’m to advanced for business cards” types on LinkedIn, and then head home. No follow up.
The above is a pretty stock standard networking event on paper, but it’s actually what happens after an event, conference or drinks night that separate the average person and the absolute guns.
What’s the point if you have hundreds, even thousands of contacts if they’re nothing more than an email in the depths of your network? The art of the follow up is actually a lot more behind the scenes work than you think, but boy, will it pay you some serious dividends.
Some of my best achievements in business (heck, even life as a whole) have come from having a follow up strategy that ensures I’m always in the back of people’s minds. And not just another random media guy. So here are some things to remember next time you meet someone interesting at an event.
Reach Out ASAP (Without Being A Creep)
Don’t let the decent chats come to a premature end, act fast. Say you meet someone who you vibe on immediately (say a potential client, marketing gun or collaboration partner), get their details and hit them up the next few days, but try not to leave it more than that. Hopefully you made enough of an impression, and if you did, strike while the iron is hot and you’re still (somewhat) fresh in their memory.
Don’t be a creep and message them that night, but be smart and follow up relatively quickly. And that segues into my next tip pretty well..
Don’t Lead With Your Sales Pitch
Now look, if the shoe is on the other foot and someone sees you as a potential lead, wouldn’t you feel a bit annoyed if their follow up email with you the next day was a full blown sales pitch? So as hard as it might seem initially, go basic. Reach out to them, mention one or two moments from the night and that you’d love to catch up over a drink or coffee in the near future. For example;
Gordon here from the Media Publisher Networking Drinks on Thursday! Hope you had a killer weekend at the races! Great fun to meet you and hear about the epic things you’re up to with Streetedge Clothing. Let me know if you’re up for a coffee/beer over the next few weeks, would be great to continue the chats.
Anyways, just wanted to reach out and stay in touch! Good luck with the product launch next week.
There are a couple of things in the above follow up that make it vitally important, and it’s all about the next ‘lil piece of advice.
Make It About Them And Treat As You’d Want To Be Treated
Put your ego to one side, make the email/text etc about them and follow up the way you would like to be followed up by someone else. This is all about relationship building, and really this tip can be applied from everything like following up, to marketing, to sales.
Make it a short follow up and try and mention little things about them or their brand. Personalising your follow ups is so important and really doesn’t require much effort beyond being a bit more attentive when you’re chatting to people initially.
Persist At All Costs
I could give you so many personal examples of where a strong follow up has got me business, resulted in invites to speak at conferences and seminars, and even got me featured in publications. And a lot of that has happened because of pure damn persistence. It doesn’t end at that first email follow up, there’s a decent chance many people won’t even reply to you.
But don’t get disheartened. They’re busy, you’re busy, it’s normal. So persist with them and keep following up (of course, making sure you don’t start to tread on that annoying line of persistence where you’re texting them every second day.) Use your personal calendar, tools like Trello or Todoist to set yourself reminders one to two weeks after your follow up.
Ultimately, the point is to do more. I’ve done interviews and calls with people to work for me here at GDM and other businesses, and you’d be alarmed at the amount who are decent in person but then never get around to sending a follow up email with their resume or portfolio. Stop watching opportunities pass you by, and grab onto those moments that will help define you and your career.