Don’t Flake Out on the Follow Up

Over the years, I’ve met a boatload of women entrepreneurs that spend a lot of time networking each week and speaking to different groups and organizations only to wind up with a less-than-ideal number of clients. womanatbar

If you’ve been reading my writing for any length of time, you might know that I consider speaking and networking to be high-octane marketing strategies. High-octane marketing strategies are strategies that quickly result in leads that turn into paying clients. So why do I see so many service-based business owners struggling to get clients this way.  The answer is simple: lack of follow up and follow through.

Imagine this …

You’ve just ran into one of your friends at yoga and she mentioned that she’s going through a tough time right now and could use someone to talk to.  You are eager to help, so you offer to call her and set up a time for the two of you to get together for lunch or a cocktail over the next week.  Once you get home, you start worrying about when would be a good time to call, will you be interrupting anything, maybe she doesn’t really need help, maybe you’re not really a good listener, etc. The next thing you know an entire month has gone by and your friend is wondering why you flaked out on the get-together.

I see this same scenario with women entrepreneurs all of the time. Some people collect business cards at networking meetings like they are cash, but then the cards never see the light of day once they get home.

Or, maybe you’ve seen this one. I’ve seen it on numerous occassions. You speak live on your topic of expertise and you have people who are interested in talking to you about your services, you get their contact information, but once you get home you start thinking of all the reasons why you maybe shouldn’t call them, so then you don’t call them. You flaked out. In other words, you didn’t do what you said you were going to do. You didn’t keep up your side of the committment.

In order to really help people, you have to be committed to helping them.  This committment must be stronger than your self-doubt.  As always, success in sales is client-centered, not self-centered.

So what do you do to make sure you follow up and follow through?

Here are 3 tips to keep you from flaking out:

1) Pick a time to follow up.

Whenever you go to an event, block out a day or two to follow up with leads, potential partners, or potential referral sources.  This way you know exactly when you’re going to do it.  It’s also helpful to be able to tell your prospective client or partner when they should expect to hear from.  This builds in accountability, plus the other party isn’t left wondering when you might get back to them.

2) Create a follow up system.

Before you even go to an event, you should know exactly how you are going to follow up. Will you be calling? Will you be sending an email? Will you be doing a combination?  Plan this out ahead of time so that the whole process goes as seamlessly as possible.  You follow up plan will be different for speaking gigs than it is for networking, sponsorships, etc.

3) Lead with a BrightFire Mindset.

Always approach the follow up from a place of service.  You are simply following up with someone to see if and how you might be able to help them.  Instead of approaching the follow-up as a sales attempt, approach it as an attempt to help.  Many women entrepreneurs let their fear of bugging people stop them from helping those in need. Just remember that selling is service. It’s the gateway to helping people create positive change in their lives.

Keep these things in mind as you follow up and you will see an increase in your sales.  I would love to hear your thoughts.  Please feel free to leave a comment below.



About Tiffany deSilva

Tiffany deSilva is the founder, CEO, and visionary leader of BrightFire Women’s Business Network, LLC.

BrightFire Women’s Business Network is the premiere sales training and coaching resource for service-based women entrepreneurs who want to increase their sales, serve more people, and change more lives.

Feedback & Comments:

  1. I love that quote “Some people collect business cards at networking meetings like they are cash, but then the cards never see the light of day once they get home.” I almost laughed out loud reading it! But it’s so true, Tiffany. Don’t even take the card if you don’t plan to follow up.

  2. This is such a great point you make Tiffany many people see networking as “not working” which it shouldn’t be if you want to grow your business. My favourite tip you share is:
    1) Pick a time to follow up.

    Love this. rinse and repeat!

  3. This is great and I’m with Heidi – pick a time to follow-up. Thanks!

  4. My follow up system when I’m networking is to write it on their business card and then the cards that require follow up go on my computer. They become first priority.

  5. I’m pretty good at follow-up. I also make a point to reach out through social media to connect with folks as well email.

  6. Tiffany,
    Another fabulous post. Follow up is important and it can be done with ease and grace WHEN we have crated systems and carved out time to do it.
    Write on!~
    Lisa Manyon

  7. Tiffany, I particularly like Tip #3 about approaching others as an act of service. Great tips!

  8. Tiffany, I love your three tips. I’ve been great at following up and it makes a huge difference in my business. I usually make the initial connection and have my assistant follow up with scheduling something. If my assistant has it on her radar she will remind me as well. Love that you’re talking about this!

  9. The relationship and the business are all in the follow up.
    Your tips are right on.

  10. It still blows my mind how many business owners fail to follow up. They have opportunities in front of them, hot leads, exciting possibilities … and they do nothing to claim them and make it happen. Follow up is a critical part of the conversion process and relationship building process and I’m happy to see you bring this topic to light and encouraging your audience to really look at their follow up procedures.

  11. Joanne Mitchell says:

    From a customer’s point of view I contend that women in business often lack follow up/follow through skills. I deal with women property managers and contractor/sales reps from my position on the board of directors of a homeowner’s association. We are continually having to contact them more than once for answers to our question or remind them of something they promised to do, then didn’t. Being quick to apologize is not a business skill that instills confidence in a client.

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