Follow up. In my past business life I’ve been horrible at it. It’s not that I didn’t care about the person I’d met at the networking event. I meant it at the time when I said, “Yes, let’s keep in touch”.
Sometimes it is too complicated to remember to follow up. You may have every intention of keeping in touch, but when you return to your chaotic daily routine there is never enough time.
Not following up can cost you sales, speaking engagements, new clients, and many other missed opportunities. Finding a way to streamline the process can make life much easier.
In honor of the New Year, I am committing to honoring my business and others by being better at follow up. Are you with me on this? Great!
Here are 3 steps to getting better at follow up for the coming year:
#1 – Decide Who to Follow Up With
Examine your contact list and create categories, or buckets, based on relationship criteria you choose. For example, you may decide there are “former clients” you want to stay in touch with. Perhaps you create a bucket for “hot leads”. Is there a “family” or “personal” bucket?
Whatever you decide, begin separating your contacts into each bucket then order them by priority.
#2 – Decide How Often to Follow Up
Once you have decided on contact buckets, now it’s time to decide how frequently you want to connect. Consider your audience. If you have a “hot leads” bucket, maybe emailing or calling them weekly is a bit too much. Assign each of your buckets to a timeframe. For example, you might want to keep in touch with former clients every 90 days or so.
#3 – Commit to a System to Follow Up
Now that you have your contacts assigned out by how often you want to follow up, it’s time to create a reminder system. How will you do this?
First, take a look at the resources you already use – maybe you use a task management program like Toodledo, or a calendar like Google Calendar (quick tip – in Google Calendar, you can create a dedicated color-coded calendar just for following up). Perhaps you’ve even signed up for an online tool like Contactually, my recommended tool for keeping in touch.
Whatever you choose, the key is to commit to using it often. That should be the one place you list every new contact so you never have to lose another opportunity to make a connection.
Like these tips? If you want more, I’ll be co-facilitating a free webinar on January 8, 2013 with Contactually to do a walkthrough of how to effectively create a fabulous follow-up system that works.
For more information, sign up to receive my weekly blogazine over at www.tanyasmithonline.com. Registrants will get the replay link if you happen to miss the live event. Plus, you’ll get great tips on how to leverage the internet to get more done. See you there!
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