Follow-Up - The Essence of Creating Professional Relationships

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Building Business Relationships

Follow-Up - The Essence of Creating Professional Relationships

Successful relationships are the foundation of all success in life: both professionally and personally.

Professionally, effective relationship building skills can mean the difference between triumph and defeat, particularly in a sales and/or service based environment.

The importance of building strong, long-term professional relationships by taking the time to effectively follow-up, cannot be overstated.

Yet many sales specialists such as realtors, pharmaceutical sales representatives and small business or home-based business owners simply fall short in this area, not for lack of trying, but simply because they lack guidance and expertise.

Following-up is an art form that once mastered, will be an invaluable element for sales success.

As Robert Collier once said, Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.

The Importance of Follow-Up?

Everyone wants to feel special, valued and remembered. Our frenzied schedules often leave very little time to think about, appreciate or thank anyone in our lives, especially new contacts.

However, that's the essential ingredient to successful business relationship building.

By taking the time to make someone else feel valued you make yourself stand out in a crowd, helping to build a positive rapport of trust and respect with prospective and existing clients.

To paraphrase the principles of the Law of Attraction, whatever you put out into the world is what you will get back in return.

Thus going the extra mile, which might only take an extra few minutes a day, to appreciate your clients and/or prospective clients is a must to attaining your goals.

Focus on giving instead of getting and remember that business relationship building takes time, organisation and perseverance but it is well worth it in the end.

ALWAYS Follow-Up

It’s always a nice touch to follow-up in both your professional and personal life. However, sometimes its hard to follow-up with absolutely everybody.

Thus, professionally you’ll want to do so with associates and people you meet at seminars and other events; existing clients i.e. on their birthday; referrals from existing clients (make sure to thank the source of the referral as well); prospects from sales meetings; co-workers who have assisted you in some way; friends; people who may have sent you a compliment or congratulations on a sale/accomplishment, or remembered a special event, anniversary or holiday.

Think of how nice it feels for you when you receive a follow-up call, email, note or card. The same is true for everyone else as well.

The Elements of Flawless Follow-Up

Set defined professional goals prior to attending networking/connection events, prospect meetings and collecting business cards. Some people you meet will be good for business leads and referrals, while others might act as mentors and/or coaches in the future.

Thus, take the time to have an active conversation with new people to find out more about them and their interests and expertise. When you make a new contact, immediately afterwards, make sure to take notes regarding why you want to contact them in the future, note something specific you discussed and how best to follow-up.

This will help you stay organised and will allow you to maintain a personal touch in your follow-up. It lets the other person know that you were actually listening and were genuinely interested in learning more about them.

Stay in on-going contact with your new prospects - in fact think of them as new friends. Consistency is key to building a positive rapport. The more of an effort you make to stand out, the more likely that they will remember you, your company and services/products as a resource for their own personal or professional needs down the line.

Most important is the type of follow-up you choose and there are quite a few options. Use the annotations you made after your initial meeting to assist in choosing the appropriate method of follow-up. The following are the tried and true of sensational follow-up:

Thank you notes: Take the time to show your customers your appreciation. Not only will they feel great, they will also almost certainly refer other clients your way. Poor time management often leads Entrepreneurs to neglect this small but effective touch so if you follow through you’re one step ahead of your competitor.

Consider opening an account with an online greeting card company that will stuff, stamp and mail for you. This is a fantastic and more cost effective way to track contact information, set scheduled mailings, set reminders all while providing that extra special touch.

Remember to mark special occasions: Keep a database to track client information (online greeting card companies allow for this and will automatically remind you of your clients/prospects special occasions). Birthdays, anniversaries, baby on the way and the like, are important to your customers, so they should be important to you as well. Remember their special day with a greeting card and they won’t soon forget you!

Send a thoughtful gift: For an extra special thank you, consider sending a well-timed gift. For instance, following a real estate transaction send a personalised greeting card along with a gift card for a home remodelling or design store. Or send a gift basket that includes a restaurant gift card, delivery menus for the area and a free movie rental to welcome new homeowners. Going the extra mile will engender lifelong loyalty.

Once again, certain online greeting card companies provide the gift card option right on their website, thereby saving you time yet allowing you to go the extra mile without actually having to physically go that extra mile!

Send out monthly mailings: Use these pieces to provide interesting, fun and informative information. The goal is to make the recipient smile while simultaneously reminding them that you’re still around. Send postcards, pamphlets, newsletters or greeting cards with useful tips, monthly calendar fridge magnets, client of the moth profiles, contests to win free movie passes, recipes, community events etc.

E-mail updates: Once a month email your clients to keep them updated on your latest sale, achievement, product/service updates and personal milestones.

Face time: Try to schedule some one on one time with clients, either over coffee or a quick lunch. Take an actual interest in their lives and they will remain loyal customers.

Quality assurance: Call your clients to enquire as to the quality of service they received. What worked for them? What, if anything, didn’t and could be improved upon? Most importantly, are they happy overall? Customer satisfaction is job one!

Set up your own client referral program: Use your client database to generate business for them as well as for yourself. The sincerest form of flattery is a referral. Send business their way and they will do the same. Give to get back - it works!

It’s proven and unequivocal, the essence of establishing long term, profitable business relationships is first-class follow-up. Time and time again, those who are the very embodiment of professional success; people like Jack Welch former CEO of GE and Real Estate Mogul Donald Trump, confirm that they make follow-up a top priority. If you want to turn that new lead or contact into a loyal client, the secret is simple, follow-up is foolproof!

Sources: Realty Tracker Online/Look Smart: Find Articles Online/Business Creator Pro/Following Up Builds Business Relationships by: Kelle Campbell.

Barbara Theodosiou is the founder of Mommy Mentors. Mommy Mentors goal is to encourage and assist every woman to share her inspirations, hopes and dreams with other women throughout the world. We know that by sharing our weaknesses we can build strength, and by sharing our strengths we can become stronger.


Building Business Relationships Training

Impact Factory runs

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Five Day Communicate With Impact Workshops


personalised One-to-One Executive Coaching

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