We all fall down on our follow-up from time to time. We’re human. It happens.
However, I’m calling “Foul!” on the “Big, Fat, Follow-Up Fail” that happens when people lose sight of what follow up is all about.
A couple of weeks ago I received a call from a “nice chap” with a lovely British accent who was calling on behalf of “Julie Jones.” (names have been changed to protect the follow-up offenders) I have to admit that the accent ALWAYS gets me to sit up and pay attention, so I listened to his introduction. But, then he stammered a bit and said “Uh, she must have met you somewhere because she has your card. So, she’d like you to call her.”
Sure. You bet. I’ll jump right on the phone and call someone I don’t know who can’t remember me or where we met and has someone else call me.
Big, Fat Follow-Up Fail!
I’m not against having an assistant reach out to schedule calls or make invitations on behalf of someone else. It can help save time and keep you organized. However, PLEASE get your stuff together before you do!
Let’s makeover this follow-up flub:
Can’t Remember Where You Met Someone?
So she can’t remember me or where we met. That’s ok – this happens to the best of us. Which is why I always recommend writing a note on the back of a card or on a piece of paper attached to the card about where you met, what you discussed, what you intend to do with the connection – send info, email, call to get acquainted . . .
Whenever you attend an event, put all the cards you get into a stack with a paper around them with the dates, the event name, the venue and any other details then a rubber band to hold them all together or place in an envelope and seal.
(And you really don’t remember me? Seriously? I have crazy, curly red hair and bright fuchsia glasses AND, I almost always wear bright green to match my company color when I speak or go out networking. Still nothing? )
Social Media and Google Are Your Friends
So, before contacting me or having someone else contact me, go to my website. Or go to any of my social media accounts that are listed on my card and my website. You can learn a lot about me in 5 minutes or less. Heck! There’s even a photo or two of me to jog your memory!
Facebook is great for this – you can look at someone’s profile and see who your mutual friends are. On LinkedIn, you can also see my photo, review my profile and see our mutual connections. That should give you a clue as to how perhaps we met as well. Still nothing? Check out the photos – I often upload albums from the events I attend and post photos of places I go.
Be Humble, Be Humorous
Then, you need to approach it with some humor or humility. Say something like . . . “Sorry, I seem to be having a senior moment about where we met. I know you must be a fantastic person because I saved your card and your website is just GORGEOUS (or insert a genuine, positive compliment about their business, website or social profiles that you observe during your quick-less-than-5-minute-review of me) – so I’d love to re-connect and learn a bit more about what you do. Would you be available for a quick call sometime next week?”
This type of approach – one of humor and/or humility coupled with doing your homework on me (in a quick 5 minutes or less) goes a long way in developing rapport and creating the potential for building a relationship.
Imagine how differently that interaction could have been if she had taken a more relationship-based approach?
How about you? How do you prepare for following-up with people you meet? Share your thoughts or your challenges in the comments below.