Meeting new people, in person, is consistently rated as one of the most effective ways to find new prospects for selling your professional services. After attending just a few networking mixers or industry meetings, you will quickly end up with a daunting collection of new contacts. But what do you do with them all?
Remember Why You Are Networking
The whole point of meeting new people is to give you a starting point for developing relationships. New contacts almost never become clients as the result of a one-time meeting.
It’s easy to let things slide, especially when they feel difficult. Unfortunately, sometimes in business, following up with clients can feel that way.
Why is that? It’s not as if your hands are broken and you can’t type, dial the phone, pick up a cup of coffee, or you don’t know how important following up is.
To the average self-employed professional, following up with prospective clients feels awkward or even scary. You hate making phone calls that might not be welcome. You think you might be pestering people. You worry about being rejected. You aren’t sure what to say. After all, how many times can you ask, “Are you ready for us to work together?”
I get it. My clients and students share concerns like these with me all the time. I’ve even had them myself.
When you think about following up, does it seem fun to you, or does it seem more like a hassle, a should, or something you wish you wanted to do? Surprisingly — or perhaps not so surprisingly — following up is something that quite a few of us don’t love doing. What if there was a way to make it fun? Read on for ideas on how to follow up in ways that actually sound good to you!
Do It with a Buddy
Pick one of your favorite people to buddy up with and hold each other accountable. Rather than thinking of it as work, think up a fun name for the time you spend together (virtually or in person). For example, you can say things like, “How’s the alligator wrestling going?”
Every time I give a marketing workshop or talk to a new coaching client, I hear the question: “Aren’t I bugging people if I keep following up with them?”
The answer is no. The only circumstances under which you would ever be “bugging” prospective clients would be if they’ve already told you they are not at all interested in what you offer, or asked you specifically to stop contacting them. In any other situation, your continued contact with a potential client is not only acceptable, it is often welcome.
Do you consistently follow up with prospective clients? If you don’t, you may be wasting the effort you made to get those prospects into your marketing pipeline in the first place.
Too many self-employed professionals limit their view of follow-up to calling a prospect on the phone or sending them an email, asking if they are ready to buy, sign up, or get started. But effective follow-up entails much more than that. And, it can be much easier on your psyche than those challenging calls and emails.
When you think of follow-up as nothing more than making those scary contacts asking for business, you may find yourself avoiding them, delaying them, or always finding “better” things to do.