Have you delayed following up with contacts for months? Potential clients, past clients, podcast interview opportunities, guest post opportunities. The list goes on.
You MEANT to contact people but then you got busy. And, if you’re being honest you weren’t quite sure what to say. There isn’t any instruction book for this.
Then you felt guilty because you still hadn’t contacted people. Then you felt embarrassed at the thought of contacting someone as it had been MONTHS since they contacted you.
So you didn’t follow up. And you felt bad about it. So many lost opportunities. Ugr.
Those negative emotions, and that inaction, don’t serve us. Or our business. Or those people who want what we have to offer, if only we’d tell them about it.
Ready to change that?
Draw a line in the sand
Where do you start when you’ve got a back log of people to contact?
You start by making a list of everyone that you’re going to contact.
Check your inbox for possible contacts. Do you have a list that you started to make of contacts but then put to one side? Fish it out.
Which of those people will you contact? Be sure to make this decision from a positive place not from the place of those negative emotions. You might decide that you’ll contact everyone on your list that you’ve had contact with in the last six months. Everyone else will get crossed off. Make this decision from a good place then let go of those other contacts. They are the price to pay for not starting sooner. BUT it’s a onetime price which you’ll never have to pay again.
Decide how many people you’ll contact a day. Give yourself an end date. Make it sooner rather than. Can you contact everyone in a day? In a week? Don’t let the tasks linger as that’ll allow space for procrastination to creep back in.
Let’s get talking
All of that guilt, embarrassment and regret will resurface once you start contacting people. That’s normal and to be expected.
Deal with those feelings head on. Use them as your motivator to clear your back log of contacts rather than a block in your way.
Remember, once that back log is cleared, and you have a system in place for future follow ups, you won’t ever need to experience those feelings again.
They’ll belong to your past. Like 80’s hairstyles, cringe worthy and not to be repeated.
Let it go
If those negative emotions are proving strong and are still getting in your way then try this exercise – Old Me. New Me.
Write down how you are feeling now about the fact that you delayed following up with contacts. Then write down how you would like to feel. This is what I wrote . . .
Old me hesitates each time she goes to send her follow up emails.
New me is on fire! She delights in the long list of lovely contacts she has to follow up with; knowing that her service is just what her contacts need and they‘re going to be so relieved that she is there to help them get their systems sorted.
This is a simple exercise yet the results for me were dramatic. Over the next hour I emailed eight of my contacts whereas it had taken me 30 minutes to email one person before because I was spending so long trying to talk myself out of it.
What’s the worst that could happen?
Our reluctance is usually borne out of fear.
“What if no one replies?”
“What if someone sarcastically replies that it’s been awhile?”
“What if I get a nasty reply?”
Those negative feelings don’t serve you at all. We need to remove the emotion that Fear is bringing to the table and replace it with logic. . .
People are busy so you can’t expect everyone to open your emails. Some people will open your email, not need your service and not reply.
“It’s been awhile”. Well that is simply the truth that they’re pointing out. It’s a truth that you’re uncomfortable with so it might get your back up. Be prepared in advance with what to say. “You’re right it has been awhile yet I’m still really keen to catch. I’ve got a new, more organised, approach to keeping in touch so that won’t be happening again.”
Neither I, nor my clients, have ever had a nasty reply to following up. It could happen yet it’s more likely to be about the other person, and where they’re at, rather than the time delay. YOU are the manager of your business. If this ever happens then see it as a chance to step up in a different way.
Always remember the reason that you’re following up – it’s about making connections with people. Some will become clients, some never will.
Have you delayed following up with contacts?
Dealing with these feelings head on is one of the things I do for my clients. We may be talking client follow up yet we need to recognise the very human feelings that you’ll have as you run your business. Ready to recreate a new way of doing business? Book in for a Systems Strategy Session with me where we’ll set up a client follow up system for you and remove any blocks that you may have about following up.