Updated: Aug 12, 2020
It’s a common scenario: You had a good first meeting with a potential customer, or at least what you perceived to be a promising email exchange. There’s an odd mix of hope, excitement, paranoia, and desperation haunting the back of your brain. You really need to close a deal.
Now, the clock is ticking. The prospect had either asked you to follow up, or enough time has passed that you figure you better chase this thing down.
You email, “I’m just following up…” or worse, “I just wanted to follow up…”
The second version is the deadlier of the two sins. “I just wanted to…” is fraught with head trash, and has become more common during the pandemic. Let’s please settle this now: You wanted to, and you’re doing it. Or more likely, you didn’t want to… and you’re doing it anyway. You don’t need to invite the recipient of your email to the chaos of your mind. That’s what coaches, therapists, and cats are for.
Here’s my next soapbox moment [#sorrynotsorry]: If you had a live conversation with the prospect, then the need to “just follow up” sometime later betrays a flawed process. Before closing any meeting, get the next one set. This means mutually agreed date and time with an invitation that is sent and accepted. If they won’t agree to a next meeting, you're definitely facing an uphill battle.
No matter what, you need a better opening line than any version of, “I’m just following up… .” Here are five potential alternatives:
"As promised, here is the information you requested so that you can [insert why they need the information and how it will move this forward]..."
"Based on our conversation, it’s clear that you [insert what you know they need, are trying to do, are capable of achieving, or something else about the transformation potential].."
"When we last spoke, you mentioned that [insert something they said that is driving the need for you to follow up; make it about them, not you]..."
"Given your goal of [insert their goal], it’s important that we reconnect before [time frame driven by their goal]..."
"The reason for my professional persistence is [insert something about their situation, need, or goal that is creating urgency for them, not you]..."
Do you have any other effective follow up language that you've used with success? Please share them in the comments.
Do you need more help based on your specific business scenarios? Message me, and we’ll work on it together. This is important.
PS: Note that I didn’t say, “I would love to help you.” That’s another big ‘no-no’ we can talk about as well!
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