Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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The Importance of the Follow-Up

This month the topic is on developing a plan for following up with our business contacts.

Many people attend networking functions to meet people who can help them grow their business. They make a business connection, yet they don’t actually get business from those business leads simply because they don’t follow up.

How many times have you heard this conversation?

followup call

“That sounds really interesting. I’d like to learn more about that.”

“Yes! I’d really like that. Let’s definitely get together.””That would be great. Maybe we could meet for coffee?”

“Maybe next week?”

“Sure! I’ll check my schedule.”

“Let’s talk soon!”

Then nothing happens.

This can be due to networking “drive-bys” as my friend, Sarah Michel ( dubs them, where people feel as though they are in a race to collect business cards as though it was the adult version of an Easter egg hunt.

Why don’t we follow up? A quick poll yielded these excuses.

Fear: The reluctance to follow-up can stem from uncertainty as to whether that other person’s intent to meet was genuine. Some people fear rejection. What if they don’t like me? What if they don’t value my product or my company? What if they were just being nice?

Not enough time: People get absorbed with the day-to-day activities and they just don’t make following up a priority. If you make a promise, keep it. Make the time.

Good intentions: You know what they say about good intentions? They don’t generate much business. Actions generate business.

Creating a monthly FOLLOW-UP ACTION plan.

  1. Make a phone call a day: Pull out that stack of business cards and promise yourself that you are going to make a phone every day to someone you have been meaning to call, and then DO IT!
  2. Send an email note: “Hi, I met you at ___ and I wanted to follow-up on our discussion. Can I send you information on___? Do one every Friday.
  3. Scrub your social media contacts: Take 10 minutes and browse your social media contacts. Find five people to follow up with this month.
  4. Drink some coffee: Or tea. Make 2 coffee dates this month. Keep those dates!
  5. Ask for 15 minutes: Make a point of maximizing your times by meeting people before or after that association monthly meeting, group lunch, or Rotary Club event. You are already there, so you might as well use that time to schedule a quick, productive meeting.
  6. Spend the 44 cents: Actually write a note. Send the note through the mail. People like receiving personal notes. Writing notes is becoming a lost art, and is therefore more appreciated. No, your messy handwriting should not stop you. Pledge to write 4 notes this month. It can be a great 44-cent investment.

The bottom line: If you say you will follow-up, do it. Call, email, or write a note. If you say you are going to do something, get it done.

1 Comment

  1. Tom Beard

    GREAT article, Mary! I like to use Mondays to go back over my previous week (daytimer, notes, cards, etc.) and follow up with key contacts while their faces, personalities and biz components are still fresh in my mind. Guess I need to brush up on my penmanship skills, huh?

    Tom Beard
    Colorado Springs


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