Persistence pays dividends, but it’s a concept that can be hard to embrace when you are running a small business and doing just about everything yourself. At the same time, everybody in the world seems to be getting busier and busier. That’s why mastering the art of the business contact follow up is essential if you don’t want to miss opportunities, wait for information, or worry about when you’re going to get paid for your hard work.
Many business people—quite understandably—find it hard to get into the habit of business contact follow up. It’s easy to feel like you are pestering people and for that reason, to ignore the reality that often, your contacts need a reminder and will actually be grateful for your communication.
Scenarios Requiring the Business Contact Follow Up
A follow-up call or email can be useful in any scenario where you are waiting for something, but some of the most typical situations for following up with a business contact include when:
- You haven’t received payment for a due invoice
- You are waiting for information from a client or customer
- A customer has expressed interest in your product/service but hasn’t taken action
- You have to resolve an issue for a dissatisfied client, customer, or commercial partner
- You have met a new contact at an event and want to grow the business relationship
- Any time you have already followed up and had no response after waiting a while
The last point above is particularly important. The objective of any follow up is to get a response. That won’t always mean the response is positive, but a “no” is better than nothing.
At least if somebody responds unfavourably to your communication, you can close down the effort or make a new plan of action. It’s important, therefore, to keep following up until you get some response.
When to Quit Following Up
Of course, there is always a point at which the business contact follow up should be written off as fruitless (unless you are following an unpaid invoice). However, the mistake that many people make is to quit too soon.
As a rule of thumb, follow up at least a couple more times after your gut instinct tells you to quit.
It’s surprising how often people simply don’t get the message or manage to respond. As I mentioned in the opening sentence of this post, persistence pays dividends.
Too Busy for Business Contact Follow-Ups?
If you feel you simply don’t have time for writing follow up emails or making calls, you should consider the opportunity cost of filling your time with what you think are more important tasks. Rather than letting your business lose out, you could always hire a virtual assistant to handle your business contact follow-up emails and calls.
There’s a good chance the opportunities you might otherwise miss will more than cover the costs of a VA, especially one operating from a low-cost country such as the Philippines.
However, whether you hire in some help or do it yourself, the key takeaway is this: Don’t neglect the importance of business contact follow-ups. A little persistence can make the difference between losses and gains in payments, sales leads, customer relationships, and profitable partnerships.