Everyone can probably agree…first dates are tough! We’ve all felt the butterflies, and let’s face it – dread – anticipating a first date. The good news, though, is if the date goes well you usually have a pretty good feeling that a second date is likely. Not so in the business world! You can meet a prospective client and have a great conversation, even share some valuable ideas …and never hear from them again. And it doesn’t mean that he/she’s just not that into you! In business relationships, you have to proactively work to get to the second date.
This is the topic of an upcoming article we are contributing to CCH’s CPA Practice Management Forum (look for it in the December issue!). Some highlights from the article:
- Being confident and charming when meeting people at networking events isn’t enough – following up is the key to the “second date.” Follow-up emails and phone calls will help you move the sales cycle forward.
- Sometimes you don’t get a response even when you’re proactive about following up – this is the time to mix in some more passive communications to keep your name in front of the prospect, illustrate your knowledge and expertise, and show the prospect you’re interested in building a relationship.
- Add value as you communicate with new prospects – tips, ideas, case studies – this is how you’ll spark their interest and solicit a response to move to the next step.
- Keep the ball in your court by controlling the next step – schedule the next meeting, reach out with an invitation, even just ask permission to follow up in a month. This helps ensure more “dates” in the future!
- Schedule time for lead nurturing – enter events in your calendar to follow up with leads and when the reminders pop up, make the call or send the email. Don’t dismiss the reminder until your action step is completed – this will keep you on track and earn you more of those elusive second dates!