The fortune is, as they say in business, in the follow-up. Meaning being persistent pays off – BIG TIME. And yet follow-up is where a lot of entrepreneurs fall down, failing to finish the last 10% required to get to the close.
How does this vital task slip through the cracks, end up at the bottom of the daily to-do list? Simple: we all know follow-up is important, but we don’t know how to make it so easy that it just gets done. We don’t have a follow-up system!
The Follow-up 5 Rule
#1: Client Prospects – Sometimes you are lucky enough that your client prospects say Yes right away, sign on the dotted line and get down to business, but more often than not, they need to think about it, work it into the budget, get buy-in from other key stakeholders. That’s where your follow-up system determines whether or not you land the project.
The System: Enter prospects into an autoresponder series that sends regular communication. For example, schedule the system to send a follow-up email with a news article about your industry that includes helpful advice. Boost the effectiveness by scheduling regular personal follow-ups via telephone and email.
#2: Strategic Partnerships – How many times do you have an amazing conference call or meeting with a potential strategic partner, agreeing in principle to leverage your synergies for your mutual benefits only to have nothing happen? Probably more often than not!
The System: Take detailed notes IN a new email message, outlining next steps and action requirements for both parties, sending a carbon copy (cc) to your email. When the call is done, take 5 minutes to tidy up, add action steps and timelines and hit send. Use the back and forth email correspondence to follow-up to project completion.
#3: Email List – When you want more business, the best place to start is with your subscriber database because they already know, like and trust you from tuning into your wisdom on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. Don’t neglect this opportunity to share with them the many and wonderful ways they can work with you!
The System: Send an email newsletter at least once a month sharing helpful advice and tips PLUS one call to action that steps them closer to your desired outcome. For example, ask your subscribers to participate in a survey that tells you what they want and then turn around and offer it to them. (Lather. Rinse. Repeat.)
#4: Affiliates – Think of your affiliates as your loyal fans who would likely promote you regardless of any compensation, but let’s face it – we all get busy and forget to do this or that. Your affiliates are no different. So as well intentioned as they may be, they need reminding too.
The System: Just as your email subscribers need regular communication, your affiliates need it too! Set up an autoresponder series to go out to new affiliates and schedule regular updates to alert your affiliates what’s current and what’s coming. Remember, the easier you make it for them to participate, the more likely they will be to do it right away (before the forgetting kicks in).
#5: Opportunities – Yes, sometimes opportunities randomly and for no apparent reason just happen, but more often than not, you need to make them happen. So ask yourself: what opportunities do I want to happen?
The System: Schedule 30 minutes twice a week dedicated to creating and capitalizing on opportunities. For example, if you want to do more public speaking, spend that time reaching out to event hosts and coordinators.