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Jan Copley
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Atticus, Inc.

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Yeah, I Know I’m Supposed to Follow Up — But What Does That Mean?

February 3, 2012

Filed under: Follow-Up Process — @ 1:50 pm

I’m a member of a group on LinkedIn that recently had a conversation titled, “Financial Advisor Marketing: Do You Suck At Follow-Ups?” In a video, Len Schwartz berates financial advisors for making contacts with potential referral sources and then failing to pursue the relationship. Schwartz urges his viewers to put together a systematic follow-up process.

This is good advice for attorneys as well as for financial advisors. I completely agree that following up is essential to creating a successful relationship with a referral source — I’ve heard that it takes seven touches to create a real professional relationship. And I also completely agree that creating some kind of follow-up system is crucial.

The problem with Schwartz’s video is that he doesn’t give you any idea of what following up with someone means. As one of my coaching clients once said to me, “once you’ve met them, what are you supposed to do with them?” And, so, I thought I would outline a simple system for you to follow:

    1. Meet face-to-face. Despite Social Media and electronic contact, it’s really hard to develop a real relationship without shaking hands and looking someone in the eye.

    2. Acknowledge. Once you’ve had that initial meeting with the referral source, send him/her a handwritten (by you, not your assistant) thank-you note.

    3. Mail something interesting. About ten days later, send the referral source something — an article, a brochure — that might be interesting to him/her. I suggest snail mail, because people tend to keep something that comes in the mail longer than they keep marketing emails.

    4. Make a call. After about thirty days, call the referral source. Ask him/her if he/she has any questions for you, and then ask the Three Magic Questions.

    5. Ask permission to put the person on your mailing list. Good for you if you have some kind of regular process for contacting referral sources. However, don’t automatically put someone on your mailing or email list — ask permission first.

    6. Make a call. After sixty days, repeat step 4, above.

    7. Make a call. After ninety days, repeat step 4, above.

After the ninety-day period has elapsed, sit back and evaluate the relationship. Do you think it’s going to go anywhere? If so, repeat Step 1. If not, keep the person on your mailing list and focus on other, more promising relationships.

Please let me know how this helps you!

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