If You Only Do One Thing Today, Do This
About a year ago I was in the market to purchase a new car. I wasn’t going into this process cold. I knew what I wanted, what it was worth, and what I was willing to spend. I was ready to buy. I scouted out a few local dealers and found one in particular that had exactly what I was looking for. It was the right car, the right color, and had all the right features. I set up an appointment to take the car for a test drive and met the salesman in the lot.
When I took the car for a drive, I realized that it was exactly what I needed and wanted. I had to have it. I was trying to play it cool on the way back to the dealership, but I was too excited. We parked the car, got out, and started the game. He gave me a price, I told him where I needed to be, so on and so forth. Eventually he told me that he needed to talk the price over with his manager and would get back to me with an offer.
I went home and waited. I waited, and waited, and waited. After a week I called the dealership. Guess who was on vacation and wouldn’t be getting the commission check for the car that I did end up buying: that salesman. So, what did this salesman do wrong that we can all learn from? He never followed up. The importance of the follow-up is one of the key things often overlooked. I know life gets hectic and things slip your mind, but many great opportunities can be missed when the follow-up is neglected.
The Importance of the Follow-Up
From a marketing perspective, the same rule applies. You have a new campaign you’re working on and you put in the hard work to make your content the best it can possibly be. You send out an email to all your prospects, throw it up on your social, and tell all your friends about it. But as the campaign starts to come to an end, your final results are less than stellar.
Now, what if I told you that 80% of sales require 5 follow up calls and 44% of salespeople give up after 2 follow-ups? Do you think knowing that would have affected the way you did outreach for your campaign? I do. What if your first email wasn’t received, somehow ended up in a spam folder, or was forgotten about? You never know if somebody saw your content and thought it was awesome but then life caught up with them and it simply slipped their mind. It happens to all of us. Even if you have nothing new to share, there are still a ton of great reasons to follow up.
It Creates an Ongoing Dialog
Creating an ongoing dialog will allow you to gain a greater understanding of your contact’s needs in the future. If you have a project coming up that suits them perfectly, you already have a conversation in which that opportunity can be discussed. When you keep the dialog going and consider them in your content creation, you become more than just another person they talk to.
A piece Forbes wrote on long-term relationship building ended on this great note about the possible benefits of following up: “You become a partner in their enterprise and someone they grow to value today, tomorrow and in years to come.” Keeping lines of communication open through ongoing dialog sets you up for successful long-term partnerships.
You Build a Relationship
Building a relationship is key no matter what you’re doing in business. As you build your relationship you gain trust; when you gain trust, people will naturally be more inclined to listen to your thoughts and ideas, link to your new post, ask you to contribute, or use a new piece of content you’ve created. It also gives you the opportunity to do the same, showing reciprocity and building the relationship even more. Jeff Haden at Inc.com put it this way: “Real success, the kind that exist on multiple levels, is impossible without building great relationships.”
In marketing and advertising, there are truths we all know. If we are able to increase the amount of times people see a product, we’ll build more brand awareness. Theoretically, the more people are aware of your brand, the quicker you will come to mind when they need your product or service. The same concept applies to relationships. The people you keep in contact with the most are the people who will think about you first.
By following up with others on a regular basis, you gain more opportunity to be at the top of their mind if they need something. This could be another great opportunity for connection. Often, someone reaches out to me and says, “I’m working on this new project and I was wondering if you had any thoughts on it?” This occurs with different relationships I’ve built on various levels. It’s always a great opportunity to be the one who pops into someone’s mind when they need help with a story or idea so that you can add value to the work they are doing.
With the explosion of social, it’s never been easier to stay connected. Whether it’s a private message, an email, a phone call, or a quick tweet, following up helps build and maintain your relationships while increasing your opportunity for future success.
By Scott Rehnberg, @thescottrehn
Scott is a husband and father to the most amazing people you will ever meet. With his passion for marketing, Scott helps create great content, connect with influencers, and advocate for brands across the globe. You can follow him on twitter @thescottrehn