The Fortune is in the Follow-up
As a solopreneur business owner I know that sometimes there just does not seem like enough time in the day to get everything done. And since we should be spending about 60 – 80% on marketing and selling, how can we get it all done?
Well over the years I have developed a simple three-step follow-up system that doesn't take a lot of time. It has helped me grow my business and more importantly, lead to new clients who I have really enjoyed working with. Setting up any system takes time and with practice this system will become second nature to you. To really make it work you need to schedule it in as part of your marketing and sales strategy. Whether you chose a day of the week or after each event to implement the follow-up system doesn't matter. What matters is that you make it a habit and become consistent with it.
Try my simple three-step 'Fortune is in the Follow-Up System' approach to attracting new clients while building meaningful and lasting client relationships
Whether you are networking at an event, trade show or private gathering the best way to connect with someone is to engage them in a conversation first.
Ask them about what kind of business they have and/or referrals they are looking for. Truth be told, networking is all about the other person first, and then about you.
It's not about you, it's about the person you are talking to!
That may seem a strange thing to say, but if you are focused on what you are going to say about yourself, you are doing the other person a disservice by not being fully present and listening to what they have to say.
When it is your turn you can introduce yourself either following the format the event is using, or your own outstanding infomercial that focuses on the results your clients receive. Then you exchange business cards not before.
This is the follow-up system that I use:
1. Create Your Database/List
- If you do not have an ezine/enewsletter sign up then at the very least put the contact information into your Outlook program and set up a Distribution List.
- The Distribution List should contain the name and date of the event/function because that will help you remember when and where you met someone.
- If you have an 'opt in' ezine/enewsletter system then you need to enter all the names into your system and they will 'opt in' if they want to receive information from you.
- If your ezine/enewsletter system does not require an 'opt in' because you have permission to enter their information and to send them information those people who really are not your ideal client, will simply unsubscribe.
- Ideally you want to put your contacts in a CRM (customer relationship management) system like Zoho – which is free or a new one on the market called FIITFU (fortune is in the follow up).
2. Send out a "Nice To Meet You" email
- If you have a small number of people to follow up with you can personalize each email using their first name.
- If you have a large number of people to follow up with then do a less personal email and make sure you BC (blind copy your list otherwise you are violating the privacy laws).
- In this friendly email, let them know you enjoyed meeting with them and ask them if they would like to meet for coffee. This is the REASON you are following up. You want to get to know them better, and for them to get to know you better.
- If you have some kind of 'free' offer to give you can put this in your follow up email but do that as one of the last things – people often look at your P.S.
3. Getting Together With Someone New
- I recommend that you phone someone that you really want to follow up with even after you send out your blanket email. We are such a 'high tech – low touch' business world right now a phone call goes much further than another email!
- If someone emails you back and wants to get together then do them the courtesy of finding out more information about them. Go check them out through their website and learn something about them before you meet. This shows real interest and lets them know you are not wasting their time, but in fact, our genuinely interested in how you can help them.
- Even if you think or know someone is not your 'ideal client' it's still a very good idea to meet with them because they may just become a great network referral for you!
- When you do meet one-on-one let them know you value their time and find out more about them. Once they have shared information about themselves, then it is time for you to share what you are looking for with them.
People need to know you, like you and trust you.
Social media is playing a bigger and bigger role in small business growth. If you have the time, or a virtual assistant, look each person up on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and any other social media site you think they might be on and ask to connect with them. Start following them and commenting on their site if you want to know more about them before you meet.
It may take several times before you really connect with someone. Be persistent and patient and continue to follow up with them. If they have signed up for your ezine/enewsletter they will start to get to know you in time and they may be phoning you for a meeting.
Challenge Your Thoughts:
The next time you have an opportunity to meet new people implement the simple three-step 'Fortune is in the Follow-Up' system. People don't like to be sold to but, they do like to buy. When you take the time to get to know other people you are starting 'relationship selling' and there is no 'hard sell' going on. If you don't let people know who you are by following up they may just take their business elsewhere.
Set your intention before you go to an event and decide on what you can give and what you want to receive. Would some new clients be a good thing?
Dana J. Smithers, President of SWAN Network, has been an entrepreneur for over 10 years. She is a published author, has appeared regularly on television, international radio, podcasts and is considered one of Canada’s home staging experts. As a business success coach, she loves sharing her experience and all the tools in her tool kit that have helped her to create three successful start-up businesses. She is passionately committed to inspiring and empowering other women entrepreneurs whether they are in start-up or stuck mode. She is in the process of updating her website Empowered Women In Business. Contact: Dana@PresStaging.com or Coaching@DanaSmithers.com
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