Follow You, Follow Me, Follow Up

Article by Frank TraditiRemember the Phil Collins song “Follow You, Follow Me?” I’d like to add one more line to those lyrics — follow up! Imagine that over the next five days, you were to meet five people who have the potential to immediately: 1) give you a lead, 2) do business with you, or 3) introduce you to a person who will hire you.

What would you do right after you got back to your office? That’s right — you would follow up. What are some ways you might follow up with those folks?

  1. Email them or send them a note to tell them you enjoyed meeting them and thank them for their time.
  2. Invite them to coffee or lunch to continue the conversation and explore future possibilities.
  3. Send them the information you promised when you spoke with them.
  4. Ask to set up a telephone meeting at a time convenient to them.

Now, let’s say during the same five-day period you were also to meet five additional people who don’t seem to fit any of the categories above. You don’t believe they can give you a lead, do business with you, or introduce you to someone who will hire you — right now, today. So, what do you do? Throw away their cards? Save any possible follow-up for a rainy day?

No. You should follow up with them right away, just like the people you expect an immediate return from. Don’t underestimate the power of follow-up after any business encounter. On average, each of those five people will have at least 50 people in their own personal network. Do the math and you’ll see you have the potential of getting connected to another 250 people just by following up with those five.

“But what do I say, and how can I follow up if they can’t help me right now?” you ask. Here are some ways you can follow up with anyone you meet and start building a relationship.

  1. Offer a resource. Send an email or note mentioning a website, publication, or event that pertains to whatever topic you discussed together.
  2. Give them a referral for their business or career situation. It can be as easy as telling them the name of a company they might want to further investigate.
  3. Ask them to subscribe to your newsletter, so you can stay connected.
  4. If you are active in a nonprofit organization, ask if they would like to volunteer. This also gives them the opportunity to network with other volunteers, which might be very appealing.
  5. Offer to buy them a cup of coffee because you would like to learn more about their business or a topic you were discussing.
  6. Make a connection between them and someone else in your network. This positions you as a center of influence.

The bottom line here is, unless you have more business than you can handle, always follow up with the people you meet, whether you think they can help you or not. You’ll be remembered, build relationships, and expand your network, which will ultimately lead to more referrals, leads, and new business.

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