Imagine you got a haircut yesterday. Today you get a call from the salon asking if you are happy with your haircut. That is nice, right?
After a thorough 30 day testing period you finally decided to buy some piece of software. Four weeks later you get an email asking whether you still liked the product or if you had some questions. Along with the email you get an PDF with the answers the most people were asking after 60 days of usage.
Three months after the tax season is over your tax professional emails you just to check in and to let you know that she is available year round to answer your questions.
An old classmate who has seen that you are looking for jobs informs you via LinkedIn about a new job opportunity at a clients of his.
Although all these actions only took a few minutes of their time to do, they showed you that there is someone who cares about you. That feels good , doesn’t it?
Even better than that, these will likely stick. You may not have had much interaction with your old classmate lately, but this gesture of concern for you will probably remain in better memory than the latest Instagram of your colleagues salad platter.
It is one of those things you either do because you care enough or you don’t. Do you agree?
Well, I hope you don’t. I admit this is what I thought for the longest time. I would readily end my emails when I submitted a report to a client that if he had questions he shouldn’t hesitate to contact me, because I was happy to help.
But did I follow up on that promise a week later? Not always.
Did I ever call past clients three months later to check in with them? Rarely
So how did I keep in contact with former clients? Well, I either ran into them by accident or either they or I wanted something some information from each other.
So often would I stumble over an entry in my contacts and wonder if they were still working at the same company. Of course three years after the last contact it would be more than weird to just call up and ask exactly that.
If I had only kept in contact.
When you are also thinking this way too often, then I suggest to find a system to track the interactions you have with your contacts.
You can use an Excel spreadsheet, which can work, but requires a lot of discipline. Ideally you need to think of a number of people you want to keep in contact with per week and then contact these people by any means you seem fit. Just like in the examples above, it is great if you can show that you care or are interested in the other person. It takes time, sure, but that is why it is called networking. Every relationship requires some work to maintain it.
If you want to be more professional you can use a CRM software (as in customer relationship management software). Most of them allow you to setup tasks or events for your contacts, so you can for example get reminded to email them at their birthday or congratulate them to have made their first anniversary as your client, etc.
I’ve personally tried several programs and in my opinion the most user friendly and best fit for the purpose of following up with people is Contactually.
Why I think that? Because it automatically reminds you to follow up with people. You can easily see when you had the last contact with a person, it updates contact information based on their signature, and the search function works like a charm (you can try it for 30 days free).
My tip of the week: It does not matter how you remind your clients, colleagues, friends and family, that you care. What matters is that you do.
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This is Quick Tip 32