Have you ever had this happen? You are at an event or are introduced to someone seeking business. It may be someone wanting advertisers. It may be a service provider or someone with a product to sell and you are interested. You hand them your business card and ask them to call you. Do they?
Recently I’ve been monitoring how many people I ask to call me about the service or product they sell after meeting them at a business networking or other business event. It has been very easy. I have the business cards sitting on the corner of my desk in a file folder – waiting for them to call. I’m still waiting.
It is fascinating that we all go out seeking business and contacts, but all too often after those meetings we fail follow-up. If someone asks you to call, do it! You may think they aren’t a good candidate or your “target” client, but you don’t really know where it could lead. Or if you aren’t going to call, send a quick note or e-mail, but do NOT ignore the contact. You don’t know what future opportunities you could be missing.
For instance, I’m often asked about different people I’ve met by others seeking services or products. If you haven’t followed up with me, my only response can be “I don’t know, I never had the opportunity to learn more about “X”. I asked them to follow-up with me, but I didn’t hear from them.” You may have the best product in the world for me or someone I know – but I won’t know about it if you don’t follow-up.
Now it could be that you don’t think I mean it when I say, “Call me”. I have heard that in some circles “call me” is similar to “the check is in the mail” – a way of getting out of telling someone you aren’t interested, aren’t in the market, or are already doing business elsewhere. If that is true, then I’m not sure what else can be said to get a phone call.
Keep this in mind: many people who say “call me” mean it! We want to hear from you about what you are offering. If you don’t call and I expected you to, then I’m not calling you to buy from you. If you do call and I didn’t want to hear from you, then you won’t get an appointment.
I recommend the following:
- Take action and follow-up when someone says “call me.”
- Give people “permission” to tell you if they aren’t interested.
- Have a process for following up that isn’t hard selling – send a hand-written note with some of your product information and say that you’ll follow-up with a phone call on a specific date.
- Do what you say you’ll do – even if you don’t see a direct payoff.
- Don’t say you’ll call if you don’t intend to!
Keep in mind every person you meet is a potential ally in growing your customer base. If you are out networking, then work at building alliances, as well as identifying potential customers. To get the most out of networking and events, make the calls, send the notes, and stay in touch with the people you meet. Near term, short term, and long term it builds your business.
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