No matter what your job is or the title you have, sales is part of your daily routine. If you are a scientist trying to secure a grant or a barber, you have to sell a group of people — or one — on why are the right person for the job. One of the most important parts of sales is following up — which can strengthen your ability to close a deal.
Following up is how you stay relevant, give out further details, and build lasting relationships. If you talk to someone once and then reach out in three months asking for a favor your odds of success are low. If you contact someone once every few weeks or monthly — even to say hello and wish someone is doing well — you are building a long-term relationship.
On top of this, your personal brand is how people will grow to respect you. Following up with help you build rapport and gain respect.
Scenario 1: Networking
One of the most common ways people end a conversation when networking is either by handing out a business card or asking for some form of contact information. As long as you interacted with the person and conversed it is smart to follow up within 24 hours.
How you follow up in the email is also crucial to your success because it will show that you paid attention. Make sure to state you wish to stay in touch and if you are feeling adventurous, ask them to get coffee.
Scenario 2: Scheduled Call
Whenever you have a scheduled call it is important to follow up so that you can continue to build a relationship. Thank people for their time and share a few of the insights you gained. As someone on the other end of the call, it is often nice to hear what value I provided so I can continue learning from the way I speak.
If the call went well, schedule a follow-up call to discuss matters in more detail. If it did not go well, still follow-up — you never want to burn bridges.
Scenario 3: Job Interview
Currently, I run a startup and we are in the hiring phase. The candidates that impress me are often the ones who not only do well in the interview but followed up after they clicked the “Submit button,” and after the interview. It is a nice touch that shows a person is interested and they respect your time.
When 100+ people are applying for the same job you have to stand out. Recently, my Co-Founder Kyle and I were laughing at our college essays. He wrote his entire essay about juggling. Knowing him well it was hilarious to me. Then I thought about it, how many other people wrote about juggling? I doubt anyone did.
- Follow up within 24 hours or people will forget who you are.
- Connect on LinkedIn and whatever social media you deem appropriate. Lately, I use Facebook and LinkedIn to network. Facebook works because you are befriending someone and it is often easier to ask a friend than a contact for help.
- Having a HubSpot database for your network or even a simple excel sheet is important. You need to be able to understand your network, as well as track when you last spoke and how the conversation went.
- Following up is about building relationships and progressing towards an end goal — a sale, mentoring, or friendship.
- Be specific and show that you were paying attention.
- If someone introduces you to someone you should follow-up with both the new and old contact. It is frustrating to not know how things went. Your reputation is on the line when you connect people.
- Persistence wins the race.
Brendan is a Co-Founder and CEO of Shelfie Challenge, a sports fan engagement platform where fans complete challenges at live events and can win prizes. For any questions or suggestions on the blog or Shelfie, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @barbatobrendan.