Have you ever experienced the dreaded Networking Strike-out?
It goes like this:
- You meet someone online, at a networking event, through a colleague, wherever.
- You give them your business card or send them a link to check out your website.
- They check out your site, and you never hear from them again.
Total Networking Strike-out!
This happens all the time. Why? Because this person isn’t ready to buy from you yet.
Maybe they don’t realize they have a problem that needs solving. Maybe your website doesn’t speak directly to their needs. Maybe they don’t understand the value you provide. Whatever the reason, they decide not to pursue a business relationship with you.
Many people assume a Networking Strike-out is the end of the conversation. But it doesn’t have to be.
Instead of letting your prospects float away, you can keep the conversation going with follow-up emails. Then, when all of their questions have been answered and the time is right, they’ll buy.
Without a follow-up plan in place, you’re only selling to the bare minimum of your target market. With a follow-up plan, you’ll never leave money on the table again. It’s a vital addition to your regular content marketing strategy.
Chet Holmes explains it really well in his book The Ultimate Sales Machine:
Imagine your target market is an iceberg.
Only the tip of the iceberg, 3% of your market, are ready to work with you immediately. They’re your low-hanging fruit, and they don’t need much convincing to sign on the dotted line. Often, a conversation with you is all they need.
But right below the surface of the water sit the next 7%. They need a nudge in the right direction. A few follow-up emails will go a VERY long way in convincing them to work with you.
With a handful of emails, you’ve gone from snagging 3% of your prospects to 10%. Just like that.
Now, 90% are still up for grabs.
Let’s assume the 30% at the bottom of the iceberg aren’t interested and never will be. They require way too much effort to be worth your time. Instead of low-hanging fruit, they’re “forgotten fruit.” Go ahead and forget about them.
That leaves you with 60% in the middle of the iceberg. They are your biggest financial opportunity.
This 60% are NOT ready to buy now. But 50-100% of them WILL buy later. All it takes is the tenacity to continue following up, the patience to maintain the conversation until they’re ready to hire you, and the organizational skills to keep everything straight.
With follow-up, there’s no such thing as a Networking Strike-out.
Now, let’s see how this iceberg analogy works in the real world.
Pretend for a minute that you’re a freelance developer. (Lucky you!) You email a list of 100 prospects, announcing that you’re taking on new clients in the next few months.
Three people (the tip of the iceberg, your low-hanging fruit) will be interested right away. They have a development project that’s been on the back burner for way too long, or they’ve worked with you before and loved you, or their favorite freelancer just quit yesterday. Your email is like a sign from the heavens. They’re ready to negotiate your contract today.
Do you stop there? No! Say it with me: “Not following up is leaving money on the table.”
So, a few days later, you send a follow-up email to the other 93 people on your list. The subject line is “7 Ways a Freelance Web Designer Can Make You Money.” After you send that email, seven more people reach out to inquire about hiring you. You continue these conversations until you get seven signed contracts.
Now you’re up to 10 closed deals. That’s a pretty good number. But you aren’t done yet.
The following week, you send another follow-up email to the remaining 90 prospects. Nobody responds. You continue to email them: once a week, then once every three weeks, then once every three months. You smartly alternate between educational marketing messages and sales pitches. People slowly respond to you, and you establish one-on-one conversations with them about their individual needs.
By the end of six months, you’ve established real contact with about 60 people. About 30 of them will end up working with you by the end of the year. That’s a grand total of 40 clients.
Imagine if you hadn’t utilized a follow-up plan like this.
Instead of signing a total of 40 clients in one year, you would have only signed 3. Let’s say each gig lands you an average of $10,000. You just went from earning $30,000/year to $400,000/year with a few emails. That’s an increase of over 1200%.
What I’d love for you to take away from this is: Don’t just focus on the low-hanging fruit. Your market is bigger than you think it is. All you have to do is take the time to build an ongoing relationship through follow-up emails.
Then, when the time is right, you’ll have more work than you know what to do with.
Never leave money on the table again. Be a follow-up rock star when you use TouchingBase.io to set easy follow-up email reminders.