With few exceptions, the most important business work we self-employed women can carry out during our workday is to follow up on marketing leads.
Marketing is the lifeblood of our businesses. When we quit marketing, we jeopardize everything we have built.
If we are busy . . . or at least have a single demanding project that chains us to our desks . . . it is easy to put off marketing.
However, one day that assignment will be done. We will instantly go from too busy to zilch.
At first, the rest may feel blissful, but soon we will feel unsettling stress. Nothing to do can be worse than too much to do . . . especially when we depend on a steady inflow of cash.
Even if we maintain some type of marketing effort, it’s not enough unless we follow through on the leads we gather and the contacts we make.
Making the initial contact, but not following up is like running 25 miles in a marathon and not going the final mile. It’s like leaving clean laundry in the basket until it is too wrinkled to wear . . . so you return it to the washer and begin again. It’s like folding your card hand after you have been dealt a royal flush.
You’ve already done too much work to give up now!
When Should You Follow-Up?
The best follow-up is done promptly. If you connect with someone at a live networking event and they are interested in setting up a meeting or learning more by phone, get in touch with them the next day. That’s called “being responsive,” not looking desperate.
Why do we put off the call? Is it really because we are too busy?
Most follow-up takes mere minutes. Want to set up an appointment? Check your calendar and choose a few alternative times. Then phone to move it forward.
How Should You Make the Connection?
A phone call is fast—no need to write out a script. We may wish to consider the point of the call and our initial words, but after that, the conversation will flow naturally. There is certainly a possibility that the other person will not answer so be sure to leave a message.
Given a choice, always choose the phone. It’s faster and requires no proofing or wordsmithing. Plus it is so much more personal.
What's Holding You Back?
Have you promised to send out some information? Do it now!
It’s seldom that we really are too busy. It’s more likely that we are afraid. Maybe we will say the wrong thing and lose the sale. Maybe they will say “no” and we will experience rejection.
Hearing “no” is simply part of business. Let’s not take it personally.
The longer we massage our fears, the worse they become. We build mountains out of molehills.
Then we are even more reluctant to call because it has been so long since our last conversation.
The ultimate in self-aggravation is when we postpone our call or email because we don’t want to appear too high-pressure or too pushy and anxious. Then all of a sudden we wake up one day and decide we have stalled too long.
We decide unilaterally that our contact is stale. If it is someone local, we pray not to run into them at our next networking event or even at the grocery because we won’t know what to say.
Our follow-up is a taste of our customer service.
The more dependable and responsive we are before we land a client, the more they believe we will serve them well. If we are slow and inconsistent before we have collected the deposit, why would they expect better after we have their money in hand?
So let’s get to it!
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Diana Schneidman helps people who want to land well-paid freelance and consulting work quickly. Her publishing and coaching practice is named Stand Up 8 Times after a Japanese proverb: Fall down seven times, stand up eight. She walks her talk—she is also a freelance writer and researcher specializing in the insurance and asset management industries at DianaWrites. Diana has restarted her dormant freelance practice several times after corporate terminations. Diana is the author of Real Skills, Real Income: A Proven Marketing System to Land Well-Paid Freelance and Consulting Work in 30 Days or Less, available on Amazon.
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