Let’s say you buy into this notion that “If you follow-up with people, you’ll get more replies.”
You decide that today is the day to get started with persistent, polite follow-up.
Week 1: You start slow
- Just one or two contacts or colleagues at a time for follow-up
- Five simple follow-up messages over ~8 weeks
- Persistent and polite
You can keep track of these first few folks pretty easily (maybe on your whiteboard, a legal pad, or in your head).
- Contact A: Week 1 of Follow-Up
- Contact B: Week 1 of Follow-Up
It’s when you start following-up with more contacts (5, 10, or 38+ contacts…) that everything starts to get a little brain melty.
Week 2: You send out a proposal to a lead
Yay! 🚀 You decide that following up on the proposal is an excellent use of your time, because money.
Now you’re following-up with three people:
- Contact A: Week 2 of Follow-Up
- Contact B: Week 2 of Follow-Up
- Lead A: Week 1 of Follow-Up
Week 3: Someone gets in touch with you to see if you’re interested in speaking at a local meetup
Heck! Yes, you are!
So you say yes, trust your friend Kai on this follow-up thing, and plan on following-up up with them if they happen to go silent.
They go silent.
You add them to your follow-up.
You’re up to four people now:
- Contact A: Week 3 of Follow-Up
- Contact B: Week 3 of Follow-Up
- Lead A: Week 2 of Follow-Up
- Speaking Lead A: Week 1 of Follow-Up
Week 4: A slow week. Nothing much happens
You send your follow-up emails, eat a burrito, and keep on truckin’.
- Contact A: Week 4 of follow-up
- Contact B: Week 4 of follow-up
- Lead A: Week 3 of follow-up
- Speaking Lead A: Week 2 of follow-up
Week 5: Hooooooboy. A doozy of a week!
A past client (an accounting firm) gets in touch with you about a (metaphorical) five-alarm fire.
They need help. The Accounting Firm has an expensive problem. Everyone there is saying you, dear reader, are the person to help them solve it. And who are you to turn down an opportunity like that?
The accounting firm tells you.
Hey, it’s tax season, and we’re 140% focused on our clients and their taxes. It will not be easy to get a reply from any of us. Jane is managing this project and needs your help, but she’s out of the office this week. Follow-up with her and her assistant and set up a meeting to discuss this.
You add Jane and Jane’s Assistant from The Accounting Firm to your follow-up. (You’re up to 6 people).
- Contact A: Week 5 of follow-up
- Contact B: Week 5 of follow-up
- Lead A: Week 4 of follow-up
- Speaking Lead A: Week 3 of follow-up
- Jane at The Accounting Firm: Week 1 of Follow-Up
- Jane’s Assistant: Week 1 of Follow-Up
And then the hallway light near your office goes out. Again 😠. You add your handyman to your follow-up. (You’re up to 7 people)
- Handyman: Week 1 of Follow-Up
Week 6: You get a terrible cold
So you miss a week in the office. Your follow-up waits for you to get back.
…Of the seven people you’re following-up with, do you remember when you last followed-up with each of them and what you’ve already said? (Nope, me either).
Here’s the thing
The more people you’re following-up with simultaneously, the harder it gets to remember who you’re following-up with.
You’re human, not a robot. Your squishy meat brain is a powerful thinking engine, but can get a bit melty when doing foolish things, like tracking multiple follow-up campaigns with numerous contacts at the same time.
Once upon a time in the year of our lady two thousand and fifteen, I was coordinating a Shopify merchant’s outreach + follow-up campaign to a group of authorities and influencers.
I was reaching out to three or five new contacts at a time and following-up with them until we got a response. Over the first month, I ended up following-up with 35 separate contacts.
Ever try to keep track of thirty-five people and conversations in your head? That does not work well. The brain goes all melty.
You need to use the right tools for your follow-up
When it comes to your outreach and follow-up, I recommend:
An Outreach Tracking Tool
Like a spreadsheet. Here’s mine in Google Docs. It’s free. Make a copy and enjoy.
A spreadsheet is a good starting point for outreach + follow-up tracking. You can use other tools for this – Trello is okay, a CRM like Pipedrive is excellent – but you can never escape the fact that tracking your follow-up will require more tools than just your brain.
Make follow-up easy on future-you by writing your follow-up emails ahead of time. Then, when it comes time to send your next follow-up email, you can grab the template, personalize it, and send it.
You’ll love the 45+ templates for outreach and follow-up included with The Outreach Blueprint: https://kaidavis.com/outreach-blueprint
A Blueprint For Your Outreach
Outreach can be a complicated skill to practice and do well. It’s easiest if you’re able to stand on someone else’s shoulders to get perspective on what to do.
In The Outreach Blueprint you’ll learn:
- How to get people to pay attention to your emails
- The technique of writing ‘You’ focused emails
- An overview of an outreach strategy
- My recommended implementation of Your Outreach System
- What to think about when optimizing your emails
- The skill, craft, and habit of outreach
- Ways to use outreach to Get More Clients
Check out The Outreach Blueprint right here: https://kaidavis.com/outreach-blueprint