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Mastering the art of the follow-up

Mar 08, 2019

Your services are only a small percentage of what you offer to your clients. Dependability, honesty and transparency are what can turn a consultation into a contract. The best way to demonstrate all three and ensure your own success is mastering the follow-up, argues Sarah Daly.

As with all relationships, transparency and clarity are central. True, these words are thrown about quite a bit these days but that does not diminish their relevance and importance in today’s business world. These tenets are the building blocks of all relationships and can help to dispel fear, distrust and insecurity.

So, why don’t we embrace transparency and clarity fully and utilise the honest foundations that they afford us? Are we embarrassed? Are we lazy? Are we not organised enough to act? Or are we afraid that we will be perceived as pushy, desperate or nagging? The psychological barriers are too many to mention but also too ridiculous to give credence to. We all strive to empower our clients through solution-based presentations yet sometimes we can leave them feeling distracted with the vague promise of future contact.

Whatever business you are in, we all have one thing in common – we are all trying to succeed. We want to grow, we want to take that next step, but we can’t take it alone. Business development and success go hand in hand with client growth and retention, but how do we build our client base and how do we hook that new client post-meeting?

You would never head into a client meeting unprepared, so why would you think it is acceptable to leave without a definitive follow-up schedule? Clients deserve more, as do we. Nobody enjoys being left in limbo. The issue of the call-back needs to be put to bed.

When do you call a client post-meeting? To answer this, you must know your own schedule inside and out. This will allow you the flexibility to fit in with your client’s diary. How assured would a prospective client feel leaving a meeting knowing exactly when to expect your call? Feeling secure in the knowledge that you are confident enough to set a time in stone and cut out all ambiguity.

What I propose is simple. It is what we all strive to ensure for our clients – clarity. Just step up to the plate and own the follow-up.

Six steps for a successful follow-up

Here are six steps to get the ball moving:

  • Before ending that all-important initial meeting, set out your plan of action.
  • Write your own script and use it every time you have a new client meeting.
  • Assure your client that you will call them on a specific date and put that date in your diary while you are with them.
  • Encourage them to also put it in their diary, assuring everyone that you are both making time for one another.
  • Send an eVite once you are back in the office, further encouraging yourself to make sure the follow-up happens.
  • Assure them that no matter the outcome, you will be in touch via email one week after your call.

Not only have you positioned the ball for the next shot, but you have shown that you are confident and adept at the process. Prospective client or not, you will have made your mark and filled your schedule.

Sarah Daly is the Founder and CEO at GroForth.