In today’s rainmaking recommendation post, coach and trainer, Jaimie Field is talking about a huge pet peeve of mine – a lack of follow up, and the impact it can have on your business development efforts.
Way back in April 2014, I came across some sales statistics which floored me. In Rainmaking Recommendation #95, I wrote about Following Up for Success. There was a meme that was floating around that looked like this:
Except, I recently found out that these statistics are false! While I do not mind admitting when I am wrong for posting this meme (I should have done a bit more research), and apparently I am not the only one who has because that meme has been floating around for a number of years, I do think that the main idea behind it is an important concept. Follow-up!
Even when you don’t hear from a prospective client, you need to follow up. And, follow up multiple times.
How many times is too many? There is no specific number.
Following up is not all about calling or emailing them asking “are you going to hire me, or not?” It’s about finding ways to keep you on the top of their minds.
Because of social media, you now have the ability to follow them on various sites. It’s another way to keep you top-of-mind (but this is a subject for another post). But, more importantly, you can find out what with what they are concerned and send them articles that are of interest. You can find out when their birthday is, or how long they have been with their company and you can congratulate them on those occasions. You can ask them if they would like to receive your firm’s newsletter (and if you don’t have a newsletter, that’s a different story). Each of these is a reason to reach out to them without the “sales pitch”.
It took almost 9 years of following up (both directly and indirectly) with a firm that finally hired me. Yes! 9 years. Now, in most instances, your clients aren’t going to wait that long to hire youNow, in most instances, your clients aren’t going to wait that long to hire you since they usually have a pressing or critical legal need.
Follow up by email, direct message, by phone call. Network with the organizations with which you know they are involved.
Follow-up immediately after you meet them, then a few days later. A week or two after that. And then maybe two weeks after that. And then maybe a month or so later.
When do you stop following up?
But what if they decide to hire another lawyer to help them?
After you get over the hurt and/or anger (which is normal, particularly if you have put a lot of time and work into proposals), send them a nice email saying that you are glad they found someone with whom they would like to work AND that you are there to still help them at any time they may have questions. And, you continue to keep in touch in the various ways mentioned above.
Why would you do that?
Because you never know if and when the attorney they hired is going to do something to screw up that relationship and you want to be positioned as the attorney who can help them if that happens. Now, I am not saying you should wish that on your clients or even badmouth other attorneys. But let’s be honest, we are all human and attorneys do make mistakes or are unresponsive to their clients (the number one reason that clients leave their attorneys). So you must keep in touch.
There is only one reason to stop following up with a prospective client. They have asked you to. They have requested to be taken off of your mailing list, or directly said please stop contacting me.
Then and only then do you stop following-up.