Categorized | Down to Business, Marketing

The art of following up

By Maxine McBride     

Everyone is networking these days. Networking builds relationships and lays the groundwork for newBusiness Networking business. A critical component of networking, however, is following up.

Following up is an art whose skill is worth developing. The proof? Everyone can recall a well-written, thoughtful note that stood out above the rest. That note is follow up done to the “T”.

If you’ve never been taught the art of following up, you are in for an informative lesson that will help you cultivate relationships, which may eventually lead to new business.

Follow up is key to business development, whether you’ve just attended a networking event, hosted a table at a dinner event, or bumped into someone at the grocery store. All of the time you spent catching up or learning about that person isn’t worth much if you don’t take it to the next step.

• Create a reason to follow up in the very near future. Here are a couple of questions to get the ball rolling: “May I call you to talk more about what we do?” “May I add you to our e-mail list”?

• Set up a plan to send a note immediately following your interaction. No matter how you do it, follow up should happen immediately (within 48 hours) after the meeting. Make a phone call to schedule a one-on-one meeting; send an e-mail and include the link to that newspaper article you mentioned while talking to the person; or send a handwritten note. Do anything—just follow up!

• Set up a follow up system. Every company has a follow up system that works best for its industry. It’s important to use one that works for your team. The system is no good if no one uses it. A simple follow up system can be as easy as a contact management computer program, a spreadsheet, a good old-fashioned tickler file that you maintain or some other tracking mechanism.

• Create goals. It is also important to create internal goals for turning those contacts into leads and clients. In today’s business environment, you need to be aggressive, uncomfortable, and brave. You won’t get anything without asking for it. Create an accountability system within your team to keep everyone on target.

• Keep networking. To keep your contacts fresh and flowing, make sure you and your team are consistently networking. Set internal goals for the number of functions you will attend each week or each month. Identify your target market and don’t just look at their industry events – think about other social, civic or educational events they may attend.

Remember that every opportunity is a chance to make a new business contact, prospect, client, advisor or friend. Don’t overlook something or someone as unimportant or not worth your attention or effort – you never know when a diamond will be found in the rough. And please, don’t forget to follow up!

Maxine McBride is the president of Clockwork Marketing Services, Inc., a full-service marketing firm in the Jacksonville area. Visit or call 904-280-7960.

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