Always hit the iron while it is still hot. If you go to a party and meet a prospect, follow up the following day. Do not wait for weeks or months. Start by sending an email as a reminder. If you see someone you are attracted to, start following up while you are still in their memory.
After a day, make a phone call to the decision maker. If that fails, send a short message. And in these days of WhatsApp, send a WhatsApp message. You will know whether your prospect has read the message or not.
Remember not to ask for favors. Focus on giving them opportunities and favors. Let them be indebted to you. When you follow up, try to offer an opportunity. A strategic marketing and sales professional is more about making the other party feel obliged to do a favor. And what is the easiest favor than buying the products and services.
If you are an entrepreneur, you could say “it was great meeting you yesterday. Our HR is headhunting for someone good in finance. I immediately remembered you. Would you have someone you could recommend to me as a potential candidate for this position. If yes, do share your email so that I may send the job description details.” That way, you will get a direct connection. It is better to add “send me someone you know very well so that I don’t have to suffer in doing background checks. I trust you.”
The above trick works all the time.
You are not in the sales business. You are in the relationship business. Having a personal relationship with the true economic buyer is what makes a difference. Many people, if not all, do business with people they know and respect. How do you get your name on the table of the decision maker? Making impact to their career, business partners or their relatives and friends.
One time I wanted to meet a politician. It was too difficult. You know Ugandan Ministers can be tricky. After making appointments in vain, I devised plan B strategy. I was to meet the receptionist and befriend him; so that he gives me insights of the Ministers schedules and habits. I planned to waste one month in giving the favors so that someone is so indebted to me that they feel ashamed not to do for me some small favors of arranging a meeting with the minister. I stated by visiting the reception often and made sure I chatted with all the people there. In the process I got to know their interests and hobbies. One liked movies a lot and the other KFC food. Two days later, I took them a movie ticket and KFC gift voucher.
They were so happy they asked, “how can we help you we see you are coming here often.” I said, I need to meet the Minister. Who can help. They said, “just be here tomorrow at 7:20am. The Minister is an early bird. We shall help you meet him.” And it was as simple as that. The following day, I met the Minister!
In whatever pursuit you are in, always be agile. Be first. Keep time. Hit the nail while it is still too hot.