Several months ago in this blog series, I talked about direct and indirect marketing strategies involved in the Rainmaking process. Direct strategies are those in which you purposefully put yourself either in the room with someone (a meeting, lunch, coffee, etc.) or on the phone (a prospect call, etc.) Direct strategies also include public speaking, presenting technical information live or via webinars. Indirect strategies are those where people can find out about you at their leisure. It is often via your on-line persona – your company website or bio page, blogging, social media, etc. It’s important that the messages between your direct and indirect strategies are consistent. The third prong of the marketing strategies (and perhaps the most important) is the follow-thru.
Why the Follow Thru?
Entire books have been dedicated to this topic. Why? Because it is an area in which so many people fail. They do well in identifying their target market. They determine where to find them and even put themselves in the room with the “right” people. They have great conversations at networking group meetings. Or great conversations with prospects. They collect business cards from the “right” people. They even go so far as to agree to follow up with another meeting. And then what? They go back to the office the next day and don’t do the follow up. They get busy. They answer emails and voicemails. A client project looms and must be completed by noon. An employee comes in with an issue. Or worse – calls in sick! They are, of course, all very legitimate things. And they can easily derail all the good work that was done in the past 48 hours.
Just Do It.
So, how do we commit to the follow up and do a better job? My recommendation is to schedule time to do it, and add it to the “to do” list. If you include follow up on your calendar you are much more likely to get it done. Schedule just 30 minutes. The trick is to schedule that follow up time at the same time you schedule the original networking event. If you have a standing “2nd Thursday” networking event once a month that automatically populates in your calendar, schedule a related follow up time slot for that event for every second Friday. Once the placeholder is on your calendar, you are less likely to schedule something else into it. And make sure you do the follow up within a reasonable timeframe. What is reasonable? In my opinion, 24 – 48 hours. You may be thinking: Why can’t you follow up within a week? Well, it’s better than not following up at all. But the longer you wait the less likely you actually will, and the less likely the person with whom you are following up will want to interact. If it took you a week to get back to them, they know where they fall in the list of importance. Conversely, if you follow up within 24 hours, the person will feel like you really connected and be more apt to reconnect back with you. Think about it – how does it make you feel when someone connects with you right away?
Stay tuned to our next blog – still on this topic – but more directed at HOW to follow up and some great examples you can use to initiate that follow-up discussion.