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I thought about giving up a few times.
It was about seven years ago, and I had been following up with a particular prospect for more than a year. When we first chatted, he seemed to be interested in my services – yet, month after month, as I stayed in touch, I never got an opportunity to even quote on a project.
It was frustrating.
But I knew I was taking the right approach. I was building the relationship, and continually positioning myself with him as a skilled, knowledgeable, heck-of-a-nice-guy expert. I wasn’t getting any business from him… yet. But I was staying on his radar screen.
Well, you can guess what eventually happened. He did finally call me to discuss a project. And, today, he’s one of my best clients.
Sure glad I stayed in touch!
As you probably know, it makes a lot of sense to follow-up regularly with GOOD prospects. Even if they don’t have a need or desire to work with you today, they might some time in the future.
In fact, these types of prospects – the “Not today, maybe tomorrow” kind – are your best source of future business.
So how do you stay in touch? Here’s a three-part strategy that I’ve found can work very well.
1. Publish an e-newsletter.
There are more e-newsletters these days than snowflakes in Nunavut. Yet, this is still an excellent way to stay in touch with prospects. A regularly published e-zine keeps you in front of prospects and gives them a window into your expertise and personality.
John Jantsch is famous for saying that marketing is getting people to “know, like and trust you”. Few marketing tools do that better than an e-newsletter.
And you don’t need a humongous list of subscribers. One of my coaching clients has 76 people on her e-newsletter list – but the majority are solid prospects for her services.
2. Send occasional emails that focus on helping, not pitching.
Every once in a while send an email to your best prospects, sharing an article, idea, best practice or something else of value.
Here’s an example of an email that one of my clients, a executive career coach, uses:
Lately, a lot of my clients have been asking about how to improve their LinkedIn profile to generate more leads and opportunities.
One tip I share with them is to make sure the SKILLS area of the profile is filled out. Increasingly, executive recruiters are searching skills to find candidates.
By the way, if you have any questions about creating an effective LinkedIn profile, feel free to contact me anytime.
Can you see how an occasional email like that would build your cachet with a prospect?
3. Watch out for relationship-building opportunities.
Did one of your prospects just get a promotion? Send her a congratulatory email or, better still, send her a card.
Did you just find out that one of your prospects will be attending an industry trade show? If you’re attending too, offer to buy her a coffee.
If you pay attention to what’s going on in your prospect’s world, you’ll find many opportunities to build the relationship.
So that’s a simple 3-part strategy for staying in touch with prospects. Publish an e-newsletter. Send occasional “helpful emails”. And watch for other relationship-building opportunities.
Try it. Let me know how it works for you!