3 min read

Follow up is everything

Today, I continued outlining our Skillshare course, focusing on three sections: (1) Your LinkedIn Profile, (2) Analyzing people via their LinkedIn profile, and (3) Following up.

I want to share 9 points I brainstormed for the "Following up" section:

a/ Follow up is everything. This is well known in sales.

Your follow up habits and skills are responsible for 80% of your sales. — Jeffrey Gittomer's Sales Bible

b/ For most people, for example, my team in OnFrontiers and Gen Propel students, this is the step they resist the most.

c/ For example, here's one of my former students, Ana, riffing on the importance of following up:

The one thing I’m still not comfortable with is follow ups. We talked a lot about it. “We have to follow up. We have to follow up.” And I don’t feel comfortable to follow up.
This took me a long time to understand… I know, now, that following up is better than an expectation that doesn’t come true. It’s better to follow up now and have the person say “no” than to think “Let’s wait one week or two weeks” and then it (the opportunity) doesn’t come true.
I think if I had done that from the start, maybe I would have looked for more opportunities. Because when you have a ‘kind of possibility’ then you got into your comfort zone. When I followed up, it felt like I was showing that I was desperate for a job or I was putting pressure on someone. In my mind, they were there to help me. But for a job relationship, that is not true. Because if they are interested in me, I’m also there to help them, right?
My feeling was, “I’m not going to pressure this person. Because if I pressure them, they will say no. But if they say no, it’s not because I pressured them, but they really don’t have interest in me.”

d/ Most people will accept a thoughtful request to connect on LinkedIn, but say nothing. It’s your job to follow up and make it easy and interesting for the person to reply to you.

e/ It takes time and multiple ‘touches’ for people to pay attention to you. That’s why companies show you the same ad over and over again.

f/ Following up shows character. You are perceived as a person who can be trusted to not drop the ball.

g/ Often, people who’ve been recipients of this kind of ‘cold outreach’ but have never done it before would tweet things like, "This is spam," "This doesn't work because it doesn't work on me," and so on.

As someone who’s done this from the other side, believe me, the person doing the outreach is getting results. In part, it’s a numbers game. Most people will not get it, be annoyed, and tweet ignorant things. But the right people - the people you want to reach - maybe 5 to 10% will reply. They'll be happy you reached out. Out of 100, that's 5 to 10 people. That's all you need to get results.

In our course, we teach you how to do this outreach in a tasteful way and not be human spam. Some people will still not like it, but most people will be receptive. It’s all part of the process.

We don't like being rejected or ignored, that’s why most people won’t do this. Only the people who are willing to do this will get the results. Each rejection gets you closer to your goal.

h/ All that is true, even for friendships.

We all know how many potential friendships haven't become realized because we dropped the ball. We waited for someone else to pursue us. We waited for someone else to "just make it happen." We waited for them to want us. We waited too long to follow up, and then felt silly getting back in touch. In other words, we waited for friend-making to feel easier, more natural, and more automatic. – Friendships Don't Just Happen

i/ Will you annoy some people? Sure, you will.

When I first arrived in Germany, 48 hours after sending an application, I followed up with an email to the Hamburg Welcome Center. They replied, "Please give us 10 days to answer and don't re-send your mails."

This feels a bit embarrassing. But does it mean following up is bad and I should never do it again? No. You can bet after that email, that they paid more attention to my application than others. It's all part of the process.

Follow up.

It's everything.