For some time now, I’ve been getting Steve Slaunwhite’s email newsletter “forcopywritersonly.com,” which has great tips for helping people in their everyday business interactions as well as tips on how to secure new business or grow your company. While it’s designed for copywriters, I find that Steve’s advice is generally applicable to most fields.
One tip that recently caught my eye was from his newsletter entitled “Advice from the ‘Queen of Follow-up.” As a PR professional, I often feel that half my job is devoted to following-up with press, analysts, or clients. And one common issue that I’ve heard people struggle with is timing. How soon after I sent my first email should I call? Or should I send a second email to see if they got my first email and then call? Should I wait a day to send the second email or more? Should I call a week after that second email or sooner? Ugh, it can be exhausting!
So here are some tips from Steve and his follow-up queen that I found particularly useful:
Don’t send a generic template follow-up email, make it personal. Oftentimes, when you get someone on the phone, they’ll say they don’t recall seeing your email, or it doesn’t ring a bell, but you could send it to them again. To ensure they read it, put something like “just spoke re: ___” in the subject line and then make the body of the email personal by referring to specific details of your phone conversation.
SAY THANK YOU
Even if whoever you’re talking to sounds completely uninterested or declines whatever you’re offering, always follow-up thanking them for their time. This is also a great opportunity to remind them who you are, what you do (or what you’re offering), and ask them to keep you in mind if you can be of any help to them in the future.
It’s common for people to like you more if you help them out. So when following-up, be prepared to offer more than the typical, “have you had a chance to read my email yet?” Perhaps you could offer them a useful article on something you know is of interest to them or a resource they might find useful.
STAY IN TOUCH
Over the following months, stay in touch. You don’t want to pester them, but staying in touch helps keep you on their radar. And using different mediums, phone, email, etc., can also help you avoid the nagging label.
Successfully implementing all of these tips will help ensure that when your contact has a need for whatever you’re offering, you will jump to their mind first. And with the multitude of ways to stay in touch these days, whether it’s email, IM, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or cell phone, there’s no reason to lose any of your contacts or prospective resources. As Steve says, these tactics will help you go from being an unknown, to being hired, to being recommended!