At the first-ever Networking Marketing Event, I went to, I gingerly took my space in the front row, eager to learn how to make this industry work for me.
To work towards building an Empire as a medically retired classroom teacher in her 30s and clueless about this new world. I will forever remember the speaker on stage booming out “The Fortune is in the Follow up, those who fail in Network Marketing, only fail as they fail to follow up”.
I scratched my head and dutifully jotted down “The Fortune is in the Follow Up”. Ok, this is key Em! Remember you’ve got to follow up. But who with, how, when, do you leave it 24hrs, 4 days, a month. What about the “ghosters”, how many times do you follow up? What do you say? Email, message, DM, phone call, text. Who do I follow up more with, customers, suspects, prospects team members? Oh jeeeeeez, follow up Friday, and a million abbreviations of what to post, comment, message when, and where.
You guessed it, I got stuck in the follow-up muddle, the thick tarry substance of our world that drowns the best of us, and annoys our customers, our team members, and our prospects. Fearing failure was on the cusp of the horizon because my follow-up was lacking any kind of substantial results, although littered with many excellent and exemplary systems, my heart sank.
My follow-up sucked!
Back to the drawing board, as I am sure many of you can relate to this process of being drowned by failing follow-up. I signed up for courses, went to events, and asked mentors. I watched, I listened, I learned. I set up new systems, cherry-picking the best from all I heard, and learned how to tread the tar without sinking and drowning. The results… you guessed it, they still sucked!
It’s on the tip of our tongues daily in Marketing of any kind, “Fortune is in the follow-up”. You hear yourself confidently demanding your teams to “follow up guys”, without giving them any clues on how it works, the time-consuming effort and the reams of excel spreadsheets, and Trello boards, doomed to give anyone like me with a red personality a heart attack… which in fairness it nearly did after several hours in the ER with an erratic heartbeat and a growing stomach ulcer.
What’s to be done then, if this fortune we’re all after is in the follow-up, yet the follow-up is slowly killing us, the rejection, the ghosting, and the lists of thousands of names you still haven’t had a yes or no to. How do we conquer the Everest that is Follow Up without freezing to death on the hillside, or plummeting to our death from the cliff face? Well, you find a way that works for you, reduce your number of active leads, and utilize WhatsApp, Telegram, or Mailchimp to automate as much as possible.
Let me give you permission to reach for your shredder right now. Go for it, try it, just one page, the one at the back that’s months old…shred it. Let it go. Now grab ONE small post-it note, and get your full agenda on it, this isn’t an excuse to write in the smallest handwriting in the world, but to narrow your focus.
Stop reading right now and do this, 3-4 bullet points down on that post it.
My agenda reads:
To earn money for my family
To create lifelong relationships
To serve others
To provide value
Is my follow-up fortune-hunting, in alignment with my agenda?
Or am I walking on a never-ending sea of eggshells? Sending out 50 messages to the tune of “Hey Mary, just checking, how was your weekend” in the hopes of getting a new sale is not serving my agenda, in-fact it builds up the anxiety about how to manipulate the conversation to my agenda.
Or to the team members “Hey Mary, Tom, and Mick, how are you finding the new brochure, what’s your biggest seller so far, drop me a message if you need some help”, and wondering why no one replied. Script after script of unsuccessful follow-up, with little old me stomping my foot in the corner and shouting at the world “It’s not fair, I’m doing everything I’m told to do and I’m exhausted”.
If your follow-up sucks, like mine did, stop!
Stop, reflect, and look at the ways others have followed up with you, what sat right with you? How do you follow up with friends after a night on the town, or family after an event? We all “follow up” every day in nearly all our communications. Follow up with school “Did you ever find Timmy’s jumper, it’s the 8th one he’s lost this week?”, follow up with the Doctors “Has my prescription been sent to the Chemist yet?”, follow up with the husband “Did the toilet seat ever work out how to lower itself or do I seriously need to teach you to sit and tuck?”.
Following up is part of our normal daily conversations and has no magic formula, but always has an agenda. Timmy – I don’t want to buy any more jumpers for school. Doctors – I will die if I don’t take my medication so it’s kind of important. Husband – he will come to an end if he doesn’t learn. The agenda is there. When I follow up with friends, it’s because I want to go out and have fun with them again, to deepen our connection and our friendships. With family, it’s through love and devotion.
The agenda is clear. Follow-up is not an action of blindly shooting arrows into the sky on a prayer that you will eventually hit a sales target.
Keep hold of that post-it note, what did you write I wonder. Fame? Top Dog? Time Freedom? There’s an infinite number of possibilities of what is most important to you. The fortune isn’t in the follow-up, the fortune is on that single small post-it, and how you balance it.
Here are a few easy ways to do the follow-up without lists.
> Utilize WhatsApp fully. For instance, did you know you can color code your contacts? That means on your ominous follow-up Friday, you can pop a message to each color in relation to your business goals.
> Make your agenda clear, if you are following up to get a repeat order, then let the person know you are following up for that reason. Suck it up Buttercup and ask. “Hey, Mary, how did you get on with that fabulous new flavor Unicorn Drink, did it give you the wings as promised? We’re launching a new flavor on Friday, cherry poptartastic, with glitter, guaranteed to make your pee sparkle. I love it, would you like me to send you a sample? In fact, my wings are so strong now from drinking it, why don’t I fly over at 5 pm with it, and then if you love it as much as I do, I’ll make sure to get you some on my next order. Does that sound fair enough?”
> If your team members haven’t placed an order and it’s getting to the end of the month… be direct, you need to make money, but keep it balanced. “Hey Richard, it’s getting to the end of the month, and your Artificial Intelligence Golf Balls need to be ordered soon. It looks like you might be struggling to drum up some business. Let me help you. Let’s have a call, is Thursday evening or Friday morning better for you?”
> Don’t flog a dead horse. If you’ve been ghosted, why are you being annoying and sending another 6 messages with “here’s the link to the latest webinar/brochure/miracle cream” They aren’t interested move on.
> Be present. Do the lives, do the groups, be all over stories, and add lots and lots of value and tips. But most of all be you.
> When you are getting “behind” on the follow-up, draw a line under it, and reach for the shredder. There’s no shame in it. If you were planning on sending out “THE” email that followed all the advice on the 896,4789,000 hits on Google when you searched “How to write an effective follow-up email”. Let me tell you, they didn’t know you were going to send it, so they won’t miss it when you don’t…shhhhh. Yes, you might have lost out on one or two sales, but you being healthy, happy, and genuine in your communication with a smaller number of people will always be more effective than getting stressy, pushy, and out of alignment with thousands of disengaged contacts.
We all have 24 hours in a day. If you’ve committed to spending 6 of those working on the dream, which is more than enough for any entrepreneur to have a life-work balance, then just 1 of those hours should be used for follow-up. Spend time following up with you. What do you need?
Remember the fortune is not in the follow-up, the fortune is in you being in alignment with your agenda.
They may bellow from the stage that the “Fortune is in the Follow Up”, but when you are in the trenches, knee deep in the unending to-dos, the fortune is in your heart and your communication skills. Never let anyone tell you that you will fail.
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