Is Your Follow-up Strategy Helping or Hurting You?

I had a conversation with an associate recently who was surprised that she’d gotten flack from a referral source for taking five days to follow up with a prospect that the referral source had referred to her. My associate explained to me that she doesn’t like to follow up with prospects for four or five days because she doesn’t want the prospect to feel like she’s too eager. I told my associate that I strongly disagree with her follow-up strategy and my reasons why are outlined in the following paragraphs . . .

When building relationships, it’s always important not to let much time lapse without following up the first contact. Within seventy-two hours, send your prospect a note expressing your pleasure in communicating with her. It’s still too early, though, to send business literature or make any move toward sales promotion.

Follow up early, but don’t push beyond the prospect’s comfort level. Once the prospect has expressed an interest in your products or services, provide information about them, but don’t force it on her. Continue presenting your products or services, but avoid the hard sell. Focus on fulfilling her needs and interests. Your goal should be to keep your prospect aware of your business without annoying her.

Remember, to secure the long-term loyalty of your prospect and convert her into a customer, you must first build a relationship, and that relationship must develop through the visibility, credibility and profitability stages. It may take a while, but if you’ve selected and briefed your sources well, you’ll speed up the process.

Always, always, always remember to follow up with people, in any situation, at the very least within seventy-two hours. There’s a reason people commonly say that the fortune is in the follow up . . . when you follow up quickly with people, your reputation will benefit, your business will benefit, and eventually your pocketbook will benefit as well.

8 thoughts on “Is Your Follow-up Strategy Helping or Hurting You?

  1. Dr. Misner,

    All very important, but I see the problem starting further back on occassions. Sometimes it is little more than a lead dressed like a referral. The person dodges contact because they don’t recognize the party attempting to reach them.

    Educating our referral partners on how we want introductions made can help eliminate this. Another strong arguement for the necessity of a mentor program for new chapter members.

    High Regards,
    Tom Doiron

  2. I always to my best to follow-up within 24 hours if possible. I believe that a lack of follow-up is one of the biggest reasons that most sales people fail.

  3. I agree with the follow up time frame as that is crucial in getting the business 9 out of 10 times. Follow up is key!

  4. This Sounds Like A Case of Confusing the world of following up on cold call contacts and leads with the world of following up on a referral…

    When we are in a “sales” mode it is a valid consideration to not appear “needy” to a prospect – especially if we don’t know their actual need or interest in our product or service. Chasing such a person make actually drive them away.


    We are talking about a referral here. Someone who we have every reason to believe has been pre-qualified, interested, and probably in need of what we have to offer them. We aren’t doing the referral or our referral source a service by waiting – we need to see how we can help as soon as we can.

    Old thought patterns need to be adjusted when we start dealing with the new world of referrals.

    Best to you all,

    Jim Thornton

  5. As president of the BNI – The Connection Network chapter in Frankfort/Mokena, IL, I continually stress that follow up is the key to continued success. I created a 90 day follow up plan which has increased business / sales by over 50%. If you do not follow up, then why begin the networking relationship? Not following up will allow your competitors to take the top position. Whether the referral is a strong referral or a cool lead, you must follow up!

  6. What I do is follow up my meeting with a thank you email, in there I mention that I will contact them in a couple days to follow up. I don’t think 5 days is such a long time if the contact was on a Monday and you can still talk to them in the same week.

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