If you want to make more money in 2017, you don't need 12, 37 or 101 new ways. You need this one trick. This one strategy. Check it out.
Can I ask you a question?
Over the last several weeks, I've ended up in several conversations about the WordPress ecosystem. Mostly we've been talking about whether the overall space is shrinking or growing?
But in the midst of this, I've landed on asking the same question over and over again. It's what I describe in this quick video.
How is your follow up?
Do you have a CRM for your freelance or agency? Do you have a system or a set of processes you use for follow-up?
If you don't have a way to make sure you're following up, then you'll never make more money this year. Because all that money will go somewhere else.
And before we get good at following up, we have to do the follow-up. And before we do it, we need to have a way to remind ourselves to do it.
Which is why I start there. What's your follow up process? How do you remind yourself of the things you have to do?
Three reasons you're not making more money
Let's look at the three reasons you don't do follow up.
The first is easy. You're telling yourself you're not good at it. I'm pretty sure I nullified this reason in my video above. You don't have to be good at it. You just have to do it.
I know the second reason too. You're probably worried about coming across as pushy. Kelley Robertson, notes that, “It may be true that following up too frequently will come across as being pushy. However, very few people ever come close to crossing this line.”
What I know is that when people follow up with me, I'm the one that feels bad. I feel bad because I had told myself I wanted to do something, take some action, and it had fallen away in the midst of my busyness. So when someone follows up with me, I'm happy.
And the third reason is just as well known. You're so busy that things fall thru the cracks for you as much as they do for me. I get that, which is why I recommend using a system, software, or some other process that ensures you won't let things fall thru the cracks. I use a combination of Agile CRM and my Google calendar.
Maybe there's a fourth reason. Maybe you just don't know how much is the right amount of follow up….so let's dig into that…
How much follow up is too much follow up?
I run a conference called CaboPress for the product and agency folks that work in WordPress. At that conference, I invite hosts to lead discussions with the attendees. So that invitation dynamic is one where I have to do a lot of follow up. So let me use that as an example.
First, I email more than making phone calls (but sometimes I do use the phone).
I do that because it's easier for someone to feel less threatened or put on the spot via an email. But that means that I also have to make sure that I don't take silence as a “no.” Instead, I take it as a non-response.
So after I meet a person that I think would be a good host, I follow up within two days with an explanation of the conference and my inquiry about whether they would be interested in being a host.
Some people sign up right away. Others are silent—and I have no idea at that moment what is causing the silence.
It's important not to embed the silence with your own insecurities.
From there I may email non-responding folks at the 7, 14, and 30 day marks. In other words, I go from:
- Day 1 (+1 day from meeting)
- Day 8 (+7 days from first email)
- Day 15 (+14 days from first email)
- Day 31 (+30 days from first email and a month after meeting)
Then I shift into every 2 months until it it's too close to the event.
But that's not when I stop.
I start again after the conference ends, to re-invite them for the next year (about a year away from the event).
Of course almost everyone replies within 60 days of my first email—positively or negatively. And sometimes the negative reply is simply, “I can't right now.”
Do I stop there? Sometimes.
But other times I ask again—like in the case of Tony Perez who I've been asking for two years and this year (the third year), he's finally agreed to join me.
Do I always use email? Nope.
Sometimes I use Twitter DM. Other times Facebook messenger.
I use whatever medium has been the one we've used in the past. The place where we're most comfortable connecting.
Get this one thing straight…
When it comes to following up, people have no trouble responding (when they have time) with a simple, “no thanks.” They can do that long before they get upset. Especially if you've actually met in person (or been introduced) and it's not a cold email.
So all that stress that you have about following up, all that insecurity, all the nervousness—here's the thing you have to get straight: it's in your own head.
Tell yourself these six truths:
- They want me to follow up.
- They have no trouble telling me that they're busy.
- They can also easily tell me no.
- They can ask me to call in two weeks.
- If they do, they really want me to call back.
- They're busy, so my following up helps them.
If you do that, I can promise you that a few months of doing follow up (regardless of how great you are at it, or how naturally it comes to you) will result in the thing you want: to make more money in 2017.