How I learned to love follow-up
👉 and the huge mistake I learned from
A few years ago I lost a potentially huge piece of business that I could have and should have won.
It was a basic mistake that cost me the work. One you’ll be able to avoid if you put in place the simple strategy I’m going to explain.
But let’s start at the beginning…
Years ago, when I was doing consulting and training locally here in the North West, a
competitor fellow trainer asked me out to lunch to get my advice.
Being a friendly kind of person, I said yes, and met up with him at a hotel near the airport. We talked for a while and he told me about a law firm he’d been hired to do sales training for.
He’d never worked for a law firm before but he knew I had, and wanted my advice on how to tweak his training to be a good fit for them.
As we chatted it slowly dawned on me that I knew the law firm that had hired him. Not only that, I’d done a presentation for them about law firm business development best practices a few years before and they’d been really enthusiastic. They’d promised to contact me when they came round to looking at that area.
Had they been lying? I don’t think so. I’m certain they genuinely meant to call.
But two years is a long time. Memories fade. People move jobs. Business cards get lost.
I asked him how he’d come to win the work and he told me the firm is fairly local to him so he just kept knocking on their door and chatting to them whenever he bumped into them at networking events.
My follow-up after my stellar presentation?
This was probably the moment when it finally clicked for me that follow-up really was important after all.
Ironically, one of the business development best practices I’d talked to the law firm about was the importance of consistent follow-up. Talk about not walking the talk ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
In sales, the dazzling presenters and brilliant closers are often lionised. But more often than not, it’s the quiet ones who relentlessly follow up who win the most business.
In marketing - especially online - we’re forever looking for the silver bullet that will get us a big rush of sales. We jump from Linkedin to Youtube to Twitter to Threads to whatever comes next.
And all the time, the real silver bullet is right there under our noses. Just like it was for me all those years ago.
Follow-up turns strangers into acquaintances into friends. It builds credibility. It keeps you top of mind.
And it’s not that hard. What you do to follow up doesn’t have to be earth-shattering every time.
My competitor who won the law firm didn’t do anything amazing. He just made sure he kept meeting up with plenty of potential clients and kept chatting to them.
He had what the marketing scientists these days call “mental availability”. In other words, when they thought about sales training, his name popped into their minds and mine didn’t. My big impression of years ago had faded. His little - but consistent and repeated - impressions were still there.
This is where an email newsletter comes into its own.
It gives you that mental availability with potential clients - as long as it gets read.
We can talk about how you can build credibility with a newsletter. About how you can nudge potential clients closer to being ready to buy. About how you can establish the psychological factors that mean they’ll be ready to buy from you.
But at the end of the day the most important factor is the mental availability that comes from your potential clients regularly reading your newsletter (not just you regularly sending it).
And that comes from a combination of value and entertainment.
A useful concept or idea or practical tip, wrapped in an interesting story or anecdote or analogy.
Something that cuts through the crushing boredom of their inboxes. That makes them smile or raise an eyebrow or nod or furrow their brow.
Those are the kind of things I hope to keep showing you in this newsletter. Or for the accelerated, no-holds-barred, step-by-step, templates ‘n examples approach, you might want to check out my Unsnooze Your Inbox online course.
We start on Monday but you can still get in at the special pre-launch price if you act fast. Click the button below for details: