The Lost Art of Follow Up

The world runs on relationships. Even with more ways to connect than ever before, we’ve lost the art of following up – and we pay a huge price for it. We lose influence, thereby diminishing our results.
Do you go to conferences or events, or even meetings or dinner parties where you meet new people? Do you follow up with them? Do people who said they would send you something send it?
Networking is more than going to events and handing out business cards.
Networking is also the Art of Following Up.
When we don’t follow through, we: show people we are not reliable, miss opportunities, lose influence, tarnish our brand, and risk losing friendships, colleagues and clients.

Every task we do is a reflection of who we are and how we perform. Saying you are “overwhelmed” and “overbooked” is no excuse for under-delivering. Our reputations depend upon our word and performance. We are all overwhelmed, so we just do the best we can, rather than nothing at all.
Following Up is Key to Achieving Goals
Following up is something we can actively do to move our goals forward, yet we don’t. We attend events, conferences and parties to meet people and create new relationships — to network– yet, we don’t follow up with the people we meet! This is true in our personal lives as well as.
I know….It’s hard to make time to send those pesky thank you notes or emails. And there are soooo many of them after a big conference, it’s time-consuming. So what? Do it anyway.
Everyone Does It, So It’s No Big Deal, Right? WRONG!!
I know….”everyone” says they’ll follow up, they’ll send you that article you talked about, and/or plan that meeting or coffee to talk more. Yet they don’t do it either. That’s no excuse. Do it anyway.
It’s precisely because other people over-promise and under-deliver that you can stand out by following up.
Most everything we do requires someone else’s cooperation to complete it – relationships. Do you want people to help you? Do you want people to think you can be counted on? Follow up.
Six Tips for Following Up
1. Make notes: At the time they give it to you, note on their business card what you said you would do next, how they fit into your world (your strategy) and the place and date.
2. Prioritize: I put a little “star” on the top priority folks to follow up with first.
3. Schedule it, Be Timely: Just after the conference or event, schedule an hour a day to send as many “thank you” notes each day as you can, starting with the priority ones (with whatever you said you would send).
4. Research: Check out their websites and relevant social media pages and “follow” business/career contacts on Twitter and/or “connect” on LinkedIn.
5. Be relevant and strategic: Remind them where and when you met and what you talked about. Keep in mind your strategy for why you want them in your sphere of influence (e.g. job prospects, client, friend, alliance). Suggest specific dates and times to meet for coffee.
6. Stay in touch: When they post something of interest, “like” it, “comment” on it, or “retweet” it. If you find something that you think would interest them, send it.
What connected you in the first place that made you want to exchange contact information? Stay in touch on that topic. Send them what you said you would, and do it in a timely manner.
Build your influence one email, one phone call, one follow up at a time….
You never know what tree will be planted by those seeds and what they will grow into….
How do you think people land “unexpected” jobs or business opportunities?
By meeting people and following up.
Written by Joan Michelson