To be a more effective with your follow up, you should develop a plan.  Time gets away from each of us, and before we know it an entire weeks has gone by and we did not reach out to anyone.

1. Schedule time for follow ups. You know your schedule better than anyone else. Is there a particular day of the week or time in the day when you have a bit more freedom? Each week as you are planning out your week, schedule in time to make follow up phone calls or emails.

2. Have some thank you notes already stamped and return address ready. When you get back from that networking event where you met that prospective client, take a moment to send them a thanks. In the thank you note, include your business card and website. Immediately stick them in the out going mail. Some have even had them in their car, ready to go.

3. Get an accountability partner. Find someone who you feel comfortable with, and each week let them know what your goal is and how you plan to reach that goal. When you speak with your accountability partner, ask them if they reached their goal and let them know where you are. This partner should be someone who can be firm with you and give you the little nudge you may need.

4. Set realistic goals. If you know you do not have time to make 25 follow up meetings a week, don’t schedule yourself then. Decide how much time you have in your schedule to meet with people. If you can not give them your undivided attention, its best not to meet. You do not want to give the impression you are running from one person to the next. Better to make 5 follow up meetings and make them dynamic.  Take time to develop a plan, then take the necessary steps to put your plan into action. Before you know it, you will be the master of follow ups.

5. Reward yourself. In the beginning it may be hard to get into a routine. When you have set the goal and reached it, reward yourself with something small. Your reward will be based on your likes. It doesn’t have to be an extravagant item. Just something that you would enjoy.

Remember, your follow up does not have to be you closing the deal. You are following up to build a relationship with them. You want to get to know them better and they know you. You are calling them to schedule an appointment where you will spend an hour or two chatting with them. This is where you can let them know who you are, what type of company you represent.

Originally published in the Democrat & Chronicle on October 30th, 2013.