The significance of following up, touching base and chasing the client shouldn’t be undervalued. Many people, especially people like me who are in PR, have seen it in action; whether it’s sending a lot of pitches and follow-up emails or making phone calls. Conscientious follow-up has helped me win business, get a story published in the newspaper, and pitch multiple ideas to clients and the media.
Strong and active following-up conveys a message to the potential client that you want to work them, that you are the right person for the job, and that you are just waiting to get started on one call. But whether you are looking for a job, a salesperson, a publicist or a businessmen, it could be a test to be persistent without being seen as annoying when you are doing strong follow-ups.
While each situation needs to be handled differently, here are seven ways to follow up without being seen as annoying:
1. Being persistent doesn’t mean daily
Doing follow-up every day doesn’t indicate your gumption or passion; give respect to a person’s time. The common rule of pursuing or following up is to give at least one week before sending a reminder. Doing follow up daily can come off as annoying. Start out with an email or phone call every week, and then switch to every couple of weeks.
2. Select a communication medium
There are no guidelines or rules on the best way to follow up; however, it’s always better to follow the indication of the individual you’re contacting. If they prefer email and your past conversations have taken place over email, it is better to follow-up via email.
3. Try multiple channels
Selecting a communication medium does not mean you should keep one communiqué method. Occasionally using other communication methods can initiate a quick response. Use social media like Twitter, Facebook, or a message on Linked-In, if you are not getting a response to your emails or phone message.
4. Don’t act like you’re owed anything
There is a strong possibility of getting disheartened and irritable when you are not getting response after a solid follow-up. Remember that it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve followed up, or how impeccable your proposal or pitch is for that client; nobody is obligated to respond to your request. Each follow-up call, email or message should be as respectful, polite and humble in attitude as your first one was.
5. Your objective is an answer
Don’t set a quota or sign to classify an answer, whether your offer is turned down or receives a non-actionable response, such as “I’ll get back to you.”
Some people might have a rough time saying no, so they’ll attempt to postpone the inevitable. Minimize that propensity by giving the person an intention to respond, such as offering a limited-time price cut. Be proactive and schedule a time to contact the person when they say they’ll get back to you.
6. Have a plan
You can’t simply keep calling a prospect after getting a negative response. Make an active plan for your offer or proposal. Find out other prospects that can be reached, look for other products that can be pitched to different clients. A negative response should lead you to the next step according to your planned track.
7. Say thank you
Whatever response you get from the client or contact person, always remember to acknowledge the time he has spent to read your proposal, or communicate with you on the phone. He gave you time and consideration, which is a difficult thing for every professional these days. He might help you by giving some information that can improve your offer or proposal, or offer a new contact, or ideas about how to sell it somewhere else. Always thank them for their time for considering your offer; they’ll remember how polite you were–and might consider your proposal in the future.
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