Tuesday June 28, 2016
So you just got home from a business trip, and you have a shoebox full of warm leads - otherwise known as business cards.
These are people you talked to, built rapport with, maybe promised that you'd get in touch with them soon...
There's nothing to worry about... they probably WANT to hear from you...
So why are you still sitting there with the phone in your hand, wondering if today is really the right day to make that phone call?
If that scenario doesn't seem familiar, because you follow up with your contacts promptly and easily, that's great!
But if you find yourself hesitating to dial their number, even though you set aside time to make the calls, here are 4 ways you can overcome your hesitation, and feel confident and enthusiastic as you build your new relationships.
Method 1: Get in touch with your own value.
One of the things that keeps people from following up is that they don't feel they have enough to offer, or they're afraid of being outed as a fraud.
They may think things like,
"I'm just starting out; I don't have much experience."
"I haven't achieved much success in my business. What if she asks what I've accomplished so far, and dismisses me when she hears how little I've done?"
"What if they feel like I'm wasting their time?"
Inner comments and questions like that can hold you back from creating extremely beneficial relationships, so here are a few ways you can build not just your own confidence, but your contact's confidence in you:
1. Write a quick list of things you KNOW you're good at, and how you know you're good at them.
For example, "I know I'm good at helping people to repair their love relationships, because my friends are always coming to me for advice, and they usually tell me that my suggestions worked."
2. Write a list of the ways in which you can help the other person.
Guiding them with your expertise, sharing their message or content with your community, referring clients to each other, or forming an accountability partnership are some ways in which you can offer value to the person you're calling.
I suggest having more than one method in mind, in case they don't need one particular aspect of your service right away, but there's still an opportunity for you to help each other in another way.
When you know that your phone call can benefit the person you're calling, it's easier to feel confident and worthy when asking for a chunk of their time.
3. List the victories you've already achieved.
Sometimes, it's easier to remember your failures than your wins.
So if you're hesitating to make a phone call because you don't feel like you've accomplished anything, take three minutes to remember and honor the things you've already achieved.
Method 2: Have some conversation topics available as fallbacks.
Did they say something interesting during the event that you'd like to hear more about?
Do you have a question, comment or insight about an earlier conversation, their product, or their website?
Did you find an article, tip or video that you think will be helpful or interesting to them?
When you have a few icebreaker topics you can fall back on, it helps you avoid the frozen feeling of not knowing what to say next, and it gives you a specific reason for calling them other than "I hope this will benefit our businesses in some way".
Method 3: Remember that you don't need to be perfect.
Maybe you're tired, and your energy is less than it could be. Maybe your tongue will slip, you'll mispronounce their name, or you won't be able to remember something important off the top of your head.
Instead of getting embarrassed, laugh it off. If you offended them, apologize, but don't panic or feel like you've failed.
Flawed and relatable is more appealing than stiff and perfect, and the confidence to accept your own mistakes is more attractive than getting flustered over every minor slip.
So be your authentic self, and if you make a mistake, don't let it scare you or throw you off-balance.
Method 4: People get busy. Don't take it personally.
When I first started my business, I didn't realize just how busy businesspeople often are. So when people took weeks or months to get back to me, or never called back at all, I was surprised and offended, and I thought they were being very rude.
I later came to realize that sometimes, business owners - and people in general - are really just that busy. They don't have time to return every phone call or email, and some people ignore calls that come from numbers they don't recognize.
So if your calls and emails aren't picked up or returned right away, don't get upset. Just leave a message, tell them who you are and how you met them, give them your number, then hang up and make a note of when to follow up if you don't hear back.
And if someone gets annoyed when you call them, don't take that personally either. They could be having a bad day, or maybe they're especially busy or stressed, and the edge in their voice wasn't caused by you.
If the majority of the people you call seem irritated, then it's probably time to reevaluate your approach.
But if it's just the occasional person, remember that everyone has issues and problems they need to deal with, and their response isn't necessarily a reflection on you.
Most of the people with whom I follow up appreciate my efforts, even if they don't need my help right away, and they'll probably appreciate yours, too.
Do you have trouble following up with your business contacts?
What tips can you share to help your fellow readers make more prompt and effective follow-up calls?
I look forward to your comments.