We are inundated with information every day. Our work and home responsibilities involve a flood of calls, messages, and texts. It’s never been easier to lose track of something, even if it’s important to us.
It’s no wonder that so many people are grateful for a simple, kind reminder about something they promised to do. It makes us feel supported–the person reminding us cares about a particular project and our time.
That’s why I always create a follow-up plan when I meet prospective clients (whether in person or virtually). It’s simple to do, and it helps organize the chaos of our information-glutted lives. Here’s a quick breakdown:
Let’s say you’re talking with your prospect (or client), and you’re getting along, clicking, and firing on all cylinders. The meeting hits its wrap-up stage, and you both determine the next time to talk or meet. Either get a general timeline (“next week”) or a specific day. Be clear. Mark it on your calendar.
Your contact is probably knee deep in her project, working out the minutiae, and solving immediate problems. You are a critical component (otherwise, you wouldn’t have met), so a reminder will determine where you fall on her “answer-back” list. I assume people reading this are polite, so I don’t have to tell you to be polite. Give a brief reminder of why you spoke, then say you look forward to speaking again, which takes some pressure off your contact.
Hopefully the reminder was enough to get you back on your contact’s schedule, and then you began working happily together again, or for the first time. If not, don’t give up.
A follow-up call or e-mail can take place a week, two weeks, or even two months later. Maybe your prospect or client got too bogged down in minutiae. Your follow-up could help bring the project back into focus.
I’ve had clients and prospects alike thank me for my follow-up e-mails. It’s even gotten me repeat work from clients I enjoy. Worst case scenario: your contact tells you she hired someone else or went in a different direction (that’s a blog post for another day). But your conscientiousness likely put you on the list of angels.
Do you practice the art of following up? What works (and doesn’t work) for you?
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