Why don't we follow-up? I've written here before about how to handle that pile of business cards sitting on your desk weeks after a conference. The question is why does that stack remain there untouched? The opportunities to follow-up are countless. We should be following up after the conference, meeting, job interview, sales call, even chance encounters where you exchange business cards. Yet, so many of us procrastinate the follow-up until it is completely awkward to do so. In other words, we wait so long that we blow our chance.
I've been thinking a lot about the art of the follow-up lately. I interviewed Jason SurfrApp on my podcast, NBNRadio.com, about the importance of following up. Jason made a million dollars wearing t-shirts that companies sponsored. He crowd-sponsored his self-published book, Creativity For Sale, and raised $75,000 before he ever wrote a word. His secret is his follow-up.
In my interview he explained that 75% of the 2,000 sponsors he has worked with over the years came from follow-up emails. He stressed that people are busy and how easy it is to be distracted these days. Even if you sent a single follow-up message, it doesn't mean the recipient saw it. Perhaps she was too busy to reply at the time and the email got swallowed up in the inbox ether, or it ended up in a junk folder accidentally.
Go beyond a single follow-up email. Consider sending a hand-written note. Don’t send the same boring follow-up email each time. Be creative and look for other ways you can reach the person. This is where social networks can help you. If you haven't heard back from your email, try sending a tweet, LinkedIn, or a Facebook private message.
Use services like Baydin's Boomerang to make emails reappear in your inbox at later dates to remind you to follow-up again. I interviewed Baydin's founder, Alex Moore, in episode 29 of NBN Radio.
Make following up a priority and set a reminder for your second follow-up. Checking back with the people you meet is as important as meeting them in the first place.
I reached out to my own network for their tips about following-up. These are some of my favorites.
Sue Anne Reed wrote, "Make the effort to make it personal. For example, if you had an interview with three people - don't send the same email to all three."
Eric Near said, "Write a follow-up email you would open. Make both the subject and the body count."
Scott Oldford suggested, "Follow-up via SoundCloud (audio clip) or a video (private YouTube) as a 30 - 60 second clip. Far more effective and leaves a much more lasting impression."
Don't drop the ball!
Don't drop the ball in networking by not following up. As Jason said in my interview, "If you're only going to put in part time effort, you're only going to get part time results."
Jason shared plenty of amazing tips and inspiration during our conversation. Don't miss my interview with him.