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.

Universal Marketing Cycle

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. Often, these “better” activities include new marketing endeavors where you attract more and more prospects to add to your pipeline… with whom you then never follow up.

The inevitable result of marketing without follow-up is that your follow-up pool fills to overflowing. Your hard-won prospects begin to escape, running down over the edges of the pool, instead of being channeled into a sequence that leads them to become paying clients.

In 44 Ways to Follow Up with Your Prospects, I shared a host of ideas for how to expand your follow-up activities beyond just asking “are you ready to buy?” But meaningful, productive follow-up requires more than making a list of action steps you might take. What you need is to build follow-up into everything you do about marketing.

BEFORE you plan any marketing interaction, map out in advance when and how the required follow-up will take place.

Going to a networking event? Block out time on your calendar the next day to send a note or place a call to everyone you meet.

Trying to attract more prospects to your website? Decide how you will capture their email addresses once they get there, and what you will send them when they subscribe.

Adding connections to your social media networks? Determine what outreach you will do with this new audience after you’re connected.

AFTER any marketing interaction takes place, consider what the next step with that prospect or audience should be, and when it should happen. Write it down. Add it to your calendar. Repeat as necessary.

If you suspect your follow-up pool may already be too full because you haven’t been doing this, stop trying to filling your marketing pipeline immediately. Don’t spend any more time and money on attracting new prospects until you put a plan in place to follow up with the ones you already know about.

That’s how to keep your follow-up pool from overflowing. And conveniently, it’s also how to land paying clients more easily and quickly than doing all that filling-the-pipeline stuff that may have been leaving you with too little time to follow up!

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