Lack of follow-up is a dastardly habit many of us suffer from. It looks like this:
John Doe meets Jane Doe. John and Jane have a valuable conversation. They sync and recognize they could do business together. John gives Jane his contact information. Jane gives John hers. They part ways after an insightful connection. Both John and Jane hold on to each other’s information for days. The cards are set on their counters at home.
John finally brings himself to plug Jane’s information in his phone and opens up an E-mail window to send a message. It feels like too much work and he eventually closes the window, opening up his shooter game app to beat the current level.
Jane already put John’s info in her phone that same day. She opens up her phone window to call him and set an appointment to meet for coffee. Then she closes it, puts the phone down and falls asleep on the couch.
John and Jane put off contacting each other for two months even though they confirmed each other’s business interests in-person the first time they met.
Eventually, they connect again but at another social event and not through a professional meeting. By that time, the interest they had in working together dissipated.
There could be several reasons for this; ultimately procrastination is near the root. Doing this repeatedly can cause opportunities that could bring us advancement to fizzle out especially when they concern other people’s time, energy, skills or money.
When we delay contact, we allow for that initial interest to dissipate and other structures to take the place of what could’ve been our opportunity.
Some Contact Follow-Up Basics
- Acquire the contact’s information, don’t just give your own. If you have a card, offer yours and ensure you have some means of contacting the other person. E-mail, phone, Skype, IG, FB, so many these days to choose from. How can you manage some level of initiative in the process without a means to reach out to them?
- Send a refresher message. Within a day, send a message of appreciation. Especially if this is not just a personal connection and you recognize there are greater professional opportunities. This message is similar to a thank you letter but briefer. Your intent is to just acknowledge your first meeting and you’re interest in connecting again. This is an opportunity to add in a timetable or specific location to meet. This will initiate the series of contacts that eventually lead you to locking down a time.
- Confirm your meeting the day before. Unless you contact on Monday and schedule on Tuesday, it serves you to send a reminder E-mail or text message to reconfirm your meeting. This creates space in case something comes up on their end that delays or forces a reschedule.
- Second follow up message. If you don’t hear back from your initial refresher message, you can send a second to acknowledge you sent the first one and didn’t hear back. You may raise the question of interest, “Hello John, I’m following up on my previous message to set an appointment with you on XYZ. Haven’t heard back from you within the week’s time, so I’d like to revisit your interest in discussing our potential venture. I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, John.”
- End cycle. If you do not receive a response after this, after at least 3 days, leave the contact alone and move on.
- Repeat. With variation of course.