Regardless of the actual purpose of it (sales, mentoring, fundraising…), having a meeting or jumping on a call with that potential client, mentor or investor that you really really want is often hard. It is often a culmination of hours of research, network engagement, deck and story preparation along with a clear goal usually in a form of an ask.
Let’s assume that that chat goes well and there are clear signs of moving forward. To make the next critical post-chat step, you will need to follow up with action items in writing, via email. A follow up will ensure that everyone’s recollection of what was said in the meeting is fairly equal and on same page. It will allow you to clarify points of confusion or answer any questions that arose.
Without a prompt follow up, the chat and its conclusions get lost in the chaos of one’s inbox and it falls off the rails and off the agenda until someone picks it up again further down the line. At that point, it might be too late and time might be lost.
Not all follow up situations are the same, but all follow ups should happen. Some of the must-dos are:
General follow ups show respect and appreciation for the time the other person spent talking to you. They usually do not have a follow up action item.
Hello John, It was great talking to you yesterday. Thank you so much for taking the time. Looking forward to seeing you on one of our events. Do let me know if I can be helpful in any way, Best, Paul
After an important meeting with a prospective client, a potential investor or hiring manager, following up is crucial. It can show your level of detail, thoughfulness and eagerness to move. In it, you play it back what the meeting was about and how it went and add the action items for next steps to ensure action.
If you reached an agreement with a time aspect and a certain deadline, add it in - you will get virtual bonus points as it often creates urgency and momentum to those action points. That will induce a reply on time or your excuse to follow up again after that deadline.
Hello John, It was great talking to you yesterday and finding out more about your background and what AmazingVCFund invests in. As discussed, please find my company presentation attached. From what was agreed in the meeting, you would be happy investing in AmazingStartup £500k under the conditions of 1), 2) and 3). Let me know if you have any questions, Looking forward to your confirmation in the next couple of days, Best, Paul
To reach a person, you engaged your network and someone accepted to introduce you to that person. You send a forwardable email and an intro is made. You are then following up on that introduction.
The way to do that is by putting the introer (person that made an intro - Mike in this example) to BCC and continuing the conversation with the ask. By doing that, the introer will know that you followed up and that that intro was not done for nothing. By not following up (and not letting Mike know), he is left in the limbo and you burned his social capital.
Thank you Mike for the nice introduction, putting you to BCC for now. -- Hello John, Pleased to e-meet you! It would be great if we could have a chat about my AmazingCompany. I would love to tell you what we are up to and find out more about you. Do please let me know if you have time this week. Thanks, Best, Paul
All in all, following up is important. Do it often and be disciplined as that will move you and your business forward faster.Written on November 14th, 2018 by Marko Srsan