Does following up with customers or clients give you anxiety?
I’m talking about those situations where a dialogue or relationship has already been established, and you want to move onto the next step – like signing a contract or figuring out logistics – but your calls or emails are met with radio silence.
You begin to wonder, Am I following up too much? Too little? Is this person just super busy? Or have they lost interest?
The internal debate that plays in your head...it's super stressful!
Should I follow up today? A week from now? Two weeks?
On the one hand, you don’t want to come across as annoying. On the other, you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity because you're no longer top of mind for that person.
After realizing I was spending a lot of mental energy determining when to follow up – and missing out on some opportunities because I let too much time pass – I knew I needed to change my approach.
Where I was going wrong, I realized, was when I hung up the phone without setting up the next time to talk.
I'd have my call, send out a proposal or email fleshing out ideas from the call, and assume the person got it, read it, and would get back to me.
What I really needed to do was set up the next conversation to discuss the information I was sending in writing BEFORE I got off the phone.
Lesson learned. That is now the strategy my team and I use to communicate with potential clients, and it works for us!
Try it, and see what a difference it makes!
Set a plan early
In your initial contact with your potential customer or client, gain clarity on what the next steps are and schedule the next conversation.
For instance: After this call, I’m going to email you my proposal. Are you available next Wednesday to discuss it?
Lather, rinse, repeat
Once the next step has been met – going back to the example, you've had a chance to talk about the proposal together – repeat what you did in your first conversation, which was determining the next steps and scheduling the next conversation. Lather, rinse, repeat.
I am going to send you my speaking contract this evening. What day can you get it back to me and discuss event logistics?
When it comes down to it, the three big things to keep in mind are:
Always make sure you and the customer/client know what the next steps arePre-schedule the next communicationFocus on moving forward
And if at some point along the line you're met with radio silence, knowing what the next steps are will help you craft a better follow-up.
For example: Our call to discuss changes to the proposal was scheduled for Monday. I wasn't able to reach you, and I would like to reschedule. When are you available?
I was supposed to receive the non-disclosure agreement form from you. I haven’t received it yet.
It really depends on the situation, but in general, I believe the sweet spot for follow-ups is much shorter than we imagine it to be. Where I've seen the most benefit is following up in 2-7 days.
Now I want to hear from you! Do you have a follow-up strategy that works? Tell me about it.