by Kristina Brzezinski
Being small business owners, we have so many things on our plates. It can be easy to let something seemingly small, like following up, slip through the cracks. Here are five ways following up can build your business, along with tips to make it easy and more effective.
1. Builds Trust
Following up with others goes a long way toward establishing a system that builds trust. It does this by building your credibility and reliability, which according to the Trusted Advisor, are two key elements to the Trust Equation. When people trust you, they’re more likely to buy your products or services.
2. Leaves a Great Impression
When a friend was looking for a new job, she viewed my connections on LinkedIn, and asked me for an introduction to one of my contacts. I happily made the introduction, and after the two met for coffee, my friend reported back to me, “Tara was so impressed with you, and couldn’t believe how on the ball you are.”
Personalized and timely follow-ups always leave a great impression.
A. Take notes (I like taking notes on the back of business cards)
B. Add notes to your contact system
C. Use notes to personalize follow up messages
D. Follow up within 24 hours after meeting someone
E. Follow up within an appropriate time-frame for all other communications
F. Set aside follow up time in your daily schedule
Additionally, personalizing your follow-ups builds intimacy, increasing your trustworthiness.
3. You’ll be known for being helpful
Whether you’re following up with a prospective client regarding your proposal, or you’re following up with a new connection, focus on being of service to them. In July, Natasha sent me a very simple follow-up email just asking me what I needed help with.
Experiencing problems with my then-web developer, I asked if she could recommend anyone. She introduced me to someone and, in the process, helped two people. I quickly launched my new website, and the developer got a new loyal client.
But, to be of real service to others, you must be genuine in all of your follow-up outreach.
A. Want to be of service
B. Take interest in what matters most to your contacts
C. Desire to have a mutually rewarding relationship with them
Being genuine in your desire to help others is what makes all of this work. Genuinely focusing on serving others decreases your self-orientation, which increases your trustworthiness.
4. Keeps You Top of Mind
When you follow up with someone, it keeps you at the top of their mind, so when they’re looking for the services you offer, or they meet someone who needs your services, you’ll be the first person they think of.
Use a contact system to help you keep everyone top of mind.
Using the right contact system will enhance your follow up efforts. My favorite is Contactually. While it has many great features, for following up I use it to schedule follow up actions for later dates, and then it sends me email reminders.
5. Expands Your Network, Grows Your Business
Building trust, impressing others, serving people, and staying top of mind, all create the compound effect of expanding your network. You will become the person others go to for referrals and introductions, expanding your network.
Lastly, following up gives you many ways to prove your trustworthiness, so when they’re in need of your services, you’ll be top of mind, they’ll appreciate all you’ve already done for them, and they’ll trust you. This is how following up builds your business.
Kristina Brzezinski is the Founder and Social Adventurer at UbuntuFuture where she loves working conscious brands to build loyal customer following, and businesses that make money while making a difference.