After you leave school, college or a job you lose contact to the greater part of your friends. Without a common interest or force there is no reason for regular meetings. You stop keeping in touch. Steadily you lose the connection you once had. You keep the memories but they fade away. Sometimes it is something good, sometimes something bad. If you like to stay in touch with a friend and keep seeing each other, you need to follow up regularly!
“My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake.” – Aristotle
The Difference Between The Regular And The First Follow Up
The main purpose of the first follow up is to establish your name in someone’s mind. You get your foot in the door. The regular follow up keeps you name in the mind. Do it right and it deepens your relationship. To accomplish that you need to follow up on a regular basis.
Manage Your Follow Ups
With a large network it becomes hard to follow up with everybody. It is almost impossible to remember each one relationship. Another problem is the timing. When is the right time to follow up? How often do you need to follow up?
To tackle those questions we need the right tooling. We need an address book which also reminds us when to follow up.
A very simple solution can be made with an excel sheet. In the sheet you write down every person you know with the date of your last follow up. Once weekly you go over the list. Alter the dates of the follow ups you did that week. Plan and schedule the follow ups for the next week. Ask yourself for every person, is it time to follow?
Sales persons use Customer Relationship Management applications (CRM) to stay connected with their customers. CRMs store customer data and remind the sales person when to follow up. Customers are maintained in different buckets. The bucket determines how often to follow up. Every 3, 6, 12, or X months.
There are dozens CRM application you can use for free. Initially I recommend to start with the sheet and later to migrate to a CRM application.
For both solutions you need organizational skills and discipline!
How To Follow Up Regularly?
A regular follow up should show that you think about the person and you try to reach out.
Follow up on a regular basis, otherwise the other person will forget you!
Never follow up too late! Don’t wait for years and expect then that the other person wants to hear from you
Don’t use templates. Every follow up should be honest!
Be brief to the point! Respect other people’s time!
Add value or show how you can add value to the other person’s life. Entertainment can also be valuable!
Invite the other person to a personal meeting
Always express gratitude
Use holidays and anniversaries
Remember the most important networking rule. Ask: “How can I help the other person?”
Two years ago I started to organize my networking efforts with a simple excel sheet. That alone changed a lot. I saw clearly how deep my relationships were. It explained why some people didn’t respond to my messages. It became clear that I ignored big parts of my network. With the sheet I was able to set goals. Which I did eventually. But before I had no metric or instrument to measure my progress. Regular follow ups helped me not only to maintain my network but also to grow it.
Follow up or you will be forgotten!
Call on Action:
Set-up a follow up system!
Follow up regularly!