One of the most popular questions I get asked by my clients is
‘What could I be doing to find more clients and more business?’
9 times out of 10 these freelance trainers are doing all the right things – networking, social networking, public speaking, seeking referrals etc yet they tell me they are still struggling to attract clients.
Once I’ve delved a little deeper into what they’re doing I then ask how often they follow-up with their potential prospects that they meet through all these activities.
9 times out of 10 they tell me rarely, if ever.
This is the biggest mistake that I made when I first started out as a freelance trainer. I’d meet someone at an event and took away their business card. I had every intention of calling them and arranging to meet but either I was too ‘busy’ or if truth be told slightly embarrassed and afraid of being seen as pushy if I made contact.
And of course the more time that went by the more embarrassed I got and the call was never made. Opportunity lost.
If you have a lead you MUST follow up on it straight away.
Warm prospects are always better than cold ones and if you’re following up it’s because you’ve already touched this person once before. Therefore they are warm and more receptive to you.
If you are out networking and you meet someone interested in learning more about your services that is a lead which should be pursued. If you promised them something during your initial conversation, write it down so you don’t forget it, and then contact them immediately as soon as you are ready and able to deliver on that promise.
If you have a potential client requesting a proposal, email them back with the relevant information. If you don’t hear from them over the next week or so, then take the initiative and follow up with them yourself, don’t wait around hoping they’ll email you first.
Often you’ll find that your proposal is still sitting on their desk or waiting to be discussed with someone else. You know what the corporate world is like!
Your gentle nudge serves as a reminder that it needs to be moved off their desk and a decison made. These gentle reminders might realistically need to happen once or twice more, and then if you still haven’t received the positive response you’d hoped for, it may be time to move on.
BUT that is something you would never had known if you’d chosen not to follow up on the original lead. So the moral of the story is always, always follow up!