3 Follow-Up Strategies That Will Set You Apart
With so many things trying to grab our attention, it is too easy to shrug off people who are trying to follow-up with us to get what they want. Whether it is the 20 apps that you have on your phone sending you a notification every time that one unimportant thing happens or the cat that destroyed your living while you were sleeping, everybody in this day and age has way too many things going on.
When you are following up with anybody to get a specific result, whether you are a salesperson, someone looking for a job, or an employee asking for a raise, it is more important now more than ever to not just be “the person from XYZ company checking in to see if you saw my email”. Nothing is more annoying to a busy person than listening to these voicemails or emails, considering that they probably have 4-5 other people at one time asking for the same thing.
So how can we be professional, persistent, but also creative in a way that will get attention? How can we get a busy person to respond so that we can move on with what we want to get? Here are strategies that proved effective for me during my time in sales and as a professional.
1. Be CREATIVELY Persistent
If you are a salesperson, this was probably the first things that your manager showed you:
I love this because it speaks volumes. It goes to show that your likelihood of converting a sale goes down the drain if you do not have a high level of persistence.
This being said, it is also true that a busy person will ignore you when you follow up in the same manner over and over again. Not having any creativity in your follow-up will lead to that person simply ignoring you or dragging their feet for a long period.
This is why creativity is so important. To be creative, you have to use multiple forms of communication. Rather than just calling and leaving a voicemail about the same thing over and over again, or just leaving an email, be different by using avenues nobody else is using. Here are examples of this:
i. An SMS Text
Statistics show that you will get substantially more engagement if you text rather than just send an email. In this day and age, where people are constantly using their cellphones, you want to be one of the first objects that a prospect sees when they open up their phone.
Also, note that texting is much more convenient for people. If someone can easily send you a text, it gets them to become more familiar with you because they are sending you a message from a form of communication that is more personal to them.
ii. A Picture Message
Humans are visual creatures, this is why Instagram, Youtube, and TikTok are becoming some of the biggest platforms in the entire world. Busy people respond more when they see eye-catching visuals.
At the end of the day, people want to deal with a professional, but they also want to be entertained. You will be a lot more effective if you can mix photos that are engaging with the person you are dealing with.
These were 2 memes that I had sent to 2 prospects who owned multi-million dollar businesses that had been ignoring me for weeks. Both times, I had gotten a callback or a text back laughing and saying that they were going to get me what I needed right away. Both of those prospects turned into clients and friends afterward.
I personally enjoy using memes because they're funny, easy to read, and can still get a message across effectively. There are hundreds of apps out there that you can use to make custom memes, but personally I use IMGflip.
I would say that of the hundreds of memes that I have sent, approximately 80-90% of people had gotten back to me. The rest? I found out that they either a) probably weren’t interested in doing business with me anyway or b) I probably didn’t want as a client either way. I would rather find myself detracting a potential customer through a fun, lighthearted message than being just another email in a busy person's schedule.
Your natural reaction to this is probably that it isn’t professional, or that it won’t work. But again, we live in an era of entertainment. People will naturally pull towards you if you can make them laugh while still showing them that you are a human.
iii. A Video Text/Email
Another form of communication that got me a high response rate is a selfie video. A video of me talking into my cellphone that would be sent to the person's email or cell phone. This would put a face to the name, have them become more familiar with me, and it would also help me stand out from everybody who left the person the same "just checking in" voicemail.
Go on any large social media influencers account and you will see that they have their face most of their content. A face will build a high level of trust and will be a good replacement if you cannot meet or see them in person.
2. Show Bottled Enthusiasm
I worked at Enterprise Car Rental for about a year. My biggest takeaway and one of the first things that they teach you is that enthusiasm is the best way to deliver a memorable experience. I believe that is why they have such a dedicated customer base.
I am writing this blog about 16 days into the New Year of 2021. All I have seen on news is rioters storming Capitol Hill, how the Coronavirus will not be solved for years and we will have to remain in lockdown for a while, and how the President of the United States just got banned on Twitter; constant news about how we should be afraid and live in negativity.
Humans will also complain about paying for their necessities like their gas bills, credit card bills, food bills, etc., but when it comes to paying entertainment expenses, they will pay their last dollar. This is because people love to be entertained. The reality is that there are way too many people out there that are not passionate about what they do, and busy people will tend to not want to deal with people that are stale and boring.
As a professional who is trying to get their way while following up, enthusiasm will deliver a memorable experience. People will find it 10 times harder to ignore you if you show enthusiasm for what you do and have a great attitude while doing it. This is quite often one of the most overlooked aspects of follow-up.
All of this being said, you can almost freak a prospect out when you are too enthusiastic. People can also tell when you are faking it. This is why it is important to still have a calm demeanor any time you follow up and still be yourself.
It’s extremely refreshing to deal with somebody that has a great attitude and is excited to deal with you when they are following up with you. It makes you WANT to talk to them.
3. Show Intention Every Time You Follow Up
An average professional will consistently leave the following lines like the following:
- "Hey just checking in to see if you saw my _________"
- "Hi was just wondering if you saw ______"
- "I am calling to see if you have any questions about _______"
This is truly annoying to people that have other employees, salespeople, and upper management constantly hounding them about their next project.
If you truly want somebody to take you seriously in your follow-up, you have to set an intention every time you follow up. This involves setting the next steps and ASKING for what you want.
Here is an example of what I use that shows intention, does not waste time and gets the process moving forward:
Again, in this example, you are showing intention by:
Firstly, showing that you can provide value for them and that you are not there to waste their time. You can use this for an employer who is looking for a specific role, or for a prospect that is looking to solve a problem.
Secondly, addressing the next steps. When people think that something will take a long time, they procrastinate. Being vague will only cause people to keep pushing you off.
In conclusion, follow-up is of the most important things to master if you want to have a great career. By being creatively persistent, showing bottled enthusiasm, and having intention, you will get people to respond to you much more successfully.