The key to a successful networking follow up campaign is to be persistent without the other party knowing it. If you call a networking contact and leave a message, your follow up strategy should be to call every day at different times without leaving additional messages. You might call and leave a message on Monday, then follow up at 10am on Tuesday morning, noon on Wednesday, 3pm on Thursday, and 4:30 on Friday. If you get the contact’s voice mail, don’t leave additional messages. If you vary the timing of the calls you increase the likelihood of getting the contact in person.
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TaxMama’s Tips about being persistent
1) If they don’t call you back or keep turning you down, don’t remind them of their unkindness or prior lack of interest. (Don’t whine or accuse “I left three messages. You didn’t call me back.”)
2) Always make your contact a pleasant one – have them remember you because you are such a delight to hear from.
3) Get to know your targets’ interests and offer a helpful resource from time to time.
4) Know about their company/business/target market (whichever applies to you) and what YOU can do to improve their circumstances – that no one else can do as well as you can.
5) Keep a log of all your contacts with the company – and any replacement of personnel in that position.
6) Know what you want from them – and remember to “ask for the sale”.
7) When they finally say “YES”, will you be prepared to perform?
Let me tell you a story about how persistence really can pay.
I thought UCLA Extension should have an Enrolled Agent Examination review class. And naturally, that I should teach it. Getting hold of their directory, I tracked down the right department – and the right contact. We had a pleasant conversation. But they turned me down.
I called back several times over the course of the next three years. Sometimes, the contact had changed. So I logged the replacement in my notes.
Reasons for the rejections:
- It wasn’t the right time.
- The catalogue was closed for the semester.
- We don’t have the budget.
Well, one day I called and they told me “We are just about to close the summer catalogue. If you can get me a course description and schedule in the next 3 hours – your class is in!
Gulp. I wasn’t ready for that.
Develop a 10-12 week course, with lesson description for each session, and a good enough (brief) course description to sell the course, and a CLEAN presentation that they can use immediately – in just three hours?
I made it.
The course made it – and was really popular.
I was a hit, too.
But the inefficient bureaucracy at the institution was too stressful. (They lost 30 boxes of books and materials from IRS; didn’t pay the suppliers so I couldn’t order new books a year later, didn’t provide parking passes for the students until 3 weeks into the course, etc.)
While it’s still being taught there using the outline I developed, I am now teaching the course on my own at TaxMama’s EA Exam Review Course.
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