Close Close

Practice Management > Building Your Business

Your top 4 excuses for not following up (and how to overcome them)

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

You met someone at a party who is in a position to use your services. You had the “What do you do?” conversation, and you exchanged business cards.

If they are interested in learning more about how you might help them, you can just assume they’ll call you, right? I mean, if you contact them to try and learn more about their situation and tell them more about your work, they’ll think you’re needy or pushy, or that you have some ulterior motive, won’t they?

So, you don’t try to approach them and, although you’d hoped they were impressed and interested, they don’t call.

We give ourselves many reasons for not following up with the people we meet. We tell ourselves:

  • If they’re interested, they’ll contact me.

  • If I contact them, I’ll be seen as pushy.

  • If I contact them, they’ll think I’m desperate for business.

  • I have more immediate and more important things to do.

But all of these “reasons” are the work of the “but monster” – they’re simply excuses you make because you’re afraid of being rejected.

Let’s look at these excuses more closely:

1. If they’re interested, they’ll contact me. 

On occasion, this does happen…but maybe they’ve misplaced your card and forgotten your last name, or maybe they just got too busy with their own work – especially if they could use the help! If they really seemed interested when you met, shouldn’t you contact them now before you’re sure that they aren’t?

2. If I contact them, I’ll be seen as pushy. 

If you’re pushy, you’ll be seen as pushy. Contacting them is just a way of asking if they’d like to continue the dialogue you started with them.

3. If I contact them, they’ll think I’m desperate for business. 

Most people view a follow-up contact as an expected business practice. They may or may not be receptive to it, but they will not see it as needy unless you make it appear that way.

4. I have more immediate and more important things to do. 

How many of the things you’re doing are more important than bringing in new clients?

Follow-up contact works best when you do it right away; then, it’s easy. You can choose to make a phone call, which is the most effective way; to send a hand-written note, which is viewed as special and personal, but involves a precious investment of time, including waiting for delivery; or to send an email, which is not as personal, but can be done instantaneously, either the next day, or over the weekend.

Here’s an example of an email or hand-written note:

Tom, It was a pleasure meeting you at Pete’s party last Friday night. You mentioned your son was sick. I hope he’s feeling better! I had the sense from what you told me about your situation that I might be able to help. If you’d like to get together soon and talk more about it, let me know. Either way, I hope our paths cross again.
– Sandy Schussel

A call might sound something like this:

Hi, Tom. This is Sandy Schussel. We met at Pete’s party last Friday…I had the sense from what you told me about your situation that I might be able to help you. We could talk more about it now if this is a good time, or if you’d prefer, we could pick a time to get together in person. What do you think? Follow-up contacts, especially phone calls, open opportunities you might never have expected to come through. Create a mindset that following up is one of your most important jobs and that it can truly help you grow your business.

In the meantime, keep reaching…

Sign up for The Lead and get a new tip in your inbox every day! More tips: