A business blog post from our member Anthony English:
“We could really use your services.”
“We’ll have to catch up for coffee.”
“I’ll give you a call next week.”
How many times have you met someone who expressed enthusiasm about your service, but they never followed through? They promised to call you, but then they never do.
Maybe you met them at a networking event. Or it could have been when you were both dropping off dry cleaning. They hear a little about what you do. They seem to like the service you’re offering. But they don’t get in contact.
You feel stuck. Do you call them? If you leave a voicemail, do you keep trying? Do you email them? What’s the boundary between being responsive and being annoying?
Don’t take it personally
First thing to note is that when people don’t get back to you, chances are it’s not your fault. I’d like to say it’s not you; it’s them. But more likely, the culprit is their inbox.
How do you break through that inbox overwhelm?
You have lit a spark at your first meeting (maybe at a Ryde Business Forum event!). How do you follow through effectively?
Make it easy for them
Naturally, you want to be clear that people are not just being polite when they express a desire to find out more about your business. But supposing you’ve got through that initial “politeness” zone and they really are interested. What do you do next?
Here’s a simple strategy I’ve used to help stoke the fire from that initial meeting.
Two Times, One Location
When someone you meet says: “we’ll have to catch up”, offer them two specific times. Ideally, make one in the morning of one day, the other in the afternoon of a different day of the week.
“Let’s catch up. I could do Tuesday at 10 am, or Wednesday afternoon at 2:30. Do either of those work for you?”
If they say something like: “I’m in Melbourne all of next week”, ask them if you can schedule it for a week or two later.
RSVP Right Now!
Now, if you really want to look professional, send them a calendar invite on the spot. That locks you both in, and stops inbox overwhelm from hijacking their attention.
Also, don’t leave it to the appointment day to brainstorm where you’re going to meet. If you’re not meeting at one of your offices, know the name and location of a coffee shop that you can key into your calendar on the spot.
(Bonus points for even knowing how to create a calendar invite on your mobile phone. Some people will think you’re a technology genius for doing that. If you’re using Google Calendar, here’s how to do it).
Respecting Their Time (and Yours)
By streamlining the process from an initial meeting at a networking event to a coffee catchup, you’re showing that you value your new contact’s time … and your own! Much better than playing telephone tag.
If you can add some brief agenda in the calendar invitation, it will show a professionalism that will set you apart.
Anthony can be contacted on 0433 494 721.