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Follow ups, Part 3

In response to my emails about follow ups a few days back, reader Louis C. wrote:

Are there follow up emails or communication that you use and  notice have a higher success rate or responses? If so, why do you think  that is?

Authenticity is pretty important to me. If I can figure out how  to sound only 10% “sales-y” in my communication, I think I’d be more  comfortable and sound more genuine in my real objective, which is to  provide value and build long-term relationships.

Separately, I received this email from another reader and potential client who I’ll anonymize since I don’t have her permission:

I noticed that even though you followed up with me several times,  not once did you project “desperation.” So you master this balance  well!

So let’s start from the premise that follow up can be both effective  and decidedly not sales-y. Here’s my general advice about this:

Don’t rely too much on templates. I have some you can grab in the resources section, but use them as guide rails rather than a hard-and-fast, word-for-word recommendation. The reason is simple:

Be yourself. It’s okay to have a personality!  Shocker, I know, but ultimately business is about people buying stuff or  providing service to other people. So yes, be a person.

Keep it short. No need for a long follow up. They  know why you’re emailing, calling, sending a postcard, or a carrier  pigeon. Keep your follow up to a few sentences, and deliver some value  that relates directly to the help you can provide.

Bonus points: using content as an impetus to follow up. I often send podcast episodes, articles, or resource downloads to people who aren’t ready to buy, with no direct ask to buy anything.

One thing I’ll leave with is a comment I saw on LinkedIn this week.  This particular person drew an important distinction worth noting here.  In his opinion, follow up falls into two categories: 1) follow up that  makes deposits in the relationship bank, and 2) follow up that makes  withdrawals from the relationship bank.

Sending content or other useful things that show you’ve been thinking about the person fall into the first category.

Repeatedly asking “do you still want to pay me?” clearly falls into the second category.

Now, it’s okay to make withdrawals from the relationship bank, just  be honest with yourself about your ability to cover those overdraft  fees.