You know you need to follow up with prospective clients, but you often find yourself putting it off. “I already called them three times,” you think. Or, “They never answer my emails anyway.” Or, “I hate hearing no.” Or, “I don’t want to bug them.” Or, “What do I say that’s new?”
It’s only natural to resist placing phone calls or sending more emails to prospects who didn’t return your last call, never seem to reply, may not be ready to buy, or might say they’re not interested. But here’s the good news. Calling and emailing prospects and asking them to hire you is not the only way to follow up!
Yes, you can call or email your prospects and ask if they’re ready to work with you, but you can also send a letter or note by postal mail, overnight them a package, send a text message, tweet them, tag them on social media, or instant message them online. And those are just different communication channels you might use. The type of messages you deliver can be much more varied than simply asking prospects to do business.
Consider the following 44 ways that you can follow up with your prospects via any communication channel you choose, in order to build a relationship, remind them of what you do, and present yourself as a valuable resource and expert in your field. Many of these follow-up approaches can also be used with potential referral sources and networking contacts.
- Ask if they have new questions about what you last discussed.
- Tell them about a book, blog post, video, or website that might help with what you talked about.
- Send a personal note with a copy of your brochure or fact sheet.
- Point them to a vendor who can solve one of their issues you don’t address.
- Prepare a personalized marketing kit for them focused on their unique issues.
- Tell them about an upcoming event that addresses an issue you think they have.
- Invite them to an event where you are a speaker, organizer, or sponsor.
- Attend an event where you are likely to run into them.
- Send a nice-to-meet-you or good-to-see-you note with your business card.
- Call or email to ask what’s new in their world.
- Leave a brief benefits-oriented commercial on their voice mail.
- Ask them to meet you for coffee, a drink, or lunch.
- Invite them for golf, tennis, a bike ride, or a walk in the park.
- Invite them to a concert, play, reading, or art opening.
- Offer to stop by their place of business.
- Send a letter summarizing what you last talked about and suggesting next steps.
- Ask for a meeting so you can prepare a detailed proposal for them.
- Send them (or link to) an article or guest blog post that you have had published.
- Send a copy of your newsletter or post from your blog and invite them to subscribe.
- Make them a free offer that will subscribe them to an autoresponder series.
- Write a tip sheet, white paper or case study and send it to all your prospects.
- Watch for their posts on social media and comment on them.
- Compliment them publicly on social media for something they’ve recently done.
- Post a comment on their blog.
- Post something useful to an online community where they are members.
- Invite them to visit your updated website.
- Send a link to a print, audio, or video interview with you about your work.
- Send a link to a video where you share helpful tips or a client success story.
- Send them a present — chocolate, cookies, flowers, a plant, a bottle of wine, or a book.
- Send them a birthday card.
- Send them a joke or cartoon about their industry or your field.
- Send a postcard reminding them what you do.
- Tell them about a special offer available if they act now.
- Offer them a free sample of what you can do for them.
- Send an announcement about a new development in your business.
- Give a free teleclass or webinar and invite all your prospects.
- Invite them to an open house, reception, demonstration, or free workshop.
- Host a networking breakfast or brown bag lunch and invite several prospects.
- Offer to give a talk or brown bag lunch for their organization at no charge.
- Refer them a prospect for their own business.
- Ask the person who introduced you to contact them and mention you again.
- Introduce them to a colleague of yours they might like to know.
- Volunteer for an organization where they also serve.
- And of course, you can always ask if they are ready to start working with you.
Following up consistently is one of the most productive marketing activities there is, but it won’t work if you don’t do it. The next time you realize you are avoiding follow-up, pull out your prospect list and choose an approach at random from the suggestions above. It matters much less how you follow up than it does that you follow up.