The art of following up

Szymon Pruszyński

How annoying it is to receive a 4th email follow-up in a row? And that itchy feeling that the guy sending you those scary messages is not going to stop until you write him to stop. Yeah, nobody likes to find himself/herself in such an upsetting, weird situation. Neither do you, nor do your clients.

Hey, what if I tell you that there are few useful techniques that are going to make your follow-ups less salesy? Yeah – that’s what they have to become – more human, less salesy. It doesn’t only refer to email marketing, but also to any follow-ups you make personally. Particularly to a person who is not much interested. Frankly speaking, most are not at the beginning.

Ok, let’s cut the crap and get straight to it.

Make them set a deadline

I know it’s a tricky part, and despite a good will, sometimes you need to put a pressure on people around you a bit. And you just still want them to feel comfortable all the way. Yeah, right.

Either way, there HAS to be a deadline. Try to set the discussion to make THEM set it, otherwise they will feel commanded and we don’t want that. Whether it is an email follow-up, or F2F, if you want the next contact to really happen, it is your job to arm it with dates.

Make it quirky, be entertaining

Well, at least as quirky as this entire blogpost is. Insert something in your email that will draw somebody’s attention in such a way, that will make this guy think that you are kidding. Of course, try not to go too far at this point. Inject some human-funny line like:

“Hey you probably got stuck with emails offering you wonders, but, is there any chance you read mine?”

I know there are many managers who have something stuck deep in their behind rather than themselves stuck on their email boxes, but you still have to break the ice and do your best to make your superficial relationship with him or her more personal. Knowing that, when it is a face-to-face situation, try to follow-up people in an even more funny way, so that they don’t feel bad about not delivering.

I’ve learnt a lot of quirkiness AND effectiveness from Growbots blog so you could to!

Make it quick

Please tell me you are not one of these, who love to write novels and overdose the method (invented by the most insightful, splendid scientists in the history) called Copy-Paste’s method. Nobody cares until they care!

So please try to make it quick and concise. Get straight to the point. From the moment you decide to follow-up with somebody, you may be perceived as an annoying little fly, therefore, spit it out as fast as you can. The information you want to remind him/her is the crucial part here and your recipient probably knows why are you reaching back to him/her.

Content makes difference

And last but not least – give your clients and colleagues, whoever you are following-up with, some content at the end. This might be your latest e-book, or something interesting you came up with recently. It will leave the impression, that you’re not only a taker (salesman) but also a giver. Moreover, it strenghtens the relationship and will later be a very good foundation for a conversation.

I know, that the thing you want to focus on, is the thing you have to follow-up about. Besides, talking about your product, you could send a nice, tidy PDF with some stunning case studies you are proud of. Doesn’t it feel good to give those people something in return for their time? They deserve it at least because they have to put up with with man, come on!

Summing up

Be entertaining, be consistent, be brief, set deadlines, keep your head up and hold to what you promised.

Like it or not you have to follow-up people in order to achieve your goals or succeed in tasks you are willing to delegate. If it’s too much for you, perhaps you need to be followed-up, huh?

How can I use it in practice, you going to ask? Well, you could deliver more by making people deliver more…and make your clients feel you are a professional and your company has a human face. Those tricks are applicable to every kind of relationship.

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