This post follows on from a previous post in which I set out the 12 ways in which you can Keep In Touch with clients and why it is so important to do so.
As I explained in that post, this demands personalised 1-2-1 contact. It is very different to simply following up with new contacts. It is also quite distinct from sending the same standard broadcast message to groups of people.
This follow up post is intended to help you if you want to Keep In Touch (KIT) but are hesitant to pick up the phone. When my clients mention this during our mentoring discussions, they typically reference the same sort of reasons. These are the most common – do you recognise any of them?
– Who shall I call first?
– It’s a while since we last spoke, will he/she remember me?
– They might be too busy to speak to me now.
– They might not want to speak to me at all.
– I can’t think of a good solid reason to call, beyond ‘How are you?’
As I explain to my clients, whenever you have a genuine business related “reason to call”, I’ll bet that a lot of these concerns simply evaporate.
One very good discipline is to set yourself a target of say ten KIT (Keep In Touch) calls a week – that’s just 2 a day. Then count down how many you have left to make. That way the total/target keeps getting smaller and this can help your motivation.
If you can’t think of any genuine reasons yourself let me provide you with some and hope that a least one or two will work for you:
– “I’m just calling to touch base and see how you’re doing as it’s been a while since we last spoke. How’s business?”
– “I’ve just seen something on the web that I thought you might find of interest”
– “I’ve just read something in [magazine/newspaper] that reminded me of you ”
– “May I ask for your advice about something ….”
– “We’re thinking of arranging a reception/party for [selected/ all] contacts and I thought you might have some useful tips”
– “I’m looking for ….. who do you know who …..?”
– “It’s a while since we’ve spoken and I didn’t just want to email you out of the blue.”
– “Have you seen the article about xyz published in ABC? Would you like a copy?”
– “I would like to test out something with you … have you got a few minutes?”
– “Please can I bounce a few ideas off you with a view to exploring who else I should be talking to?”
– “I found our last conversation really valuable; I wanted to thank you again and to let you know what happened ….”
– “I’m calling for no particular reason at all. You just came into my mind and I thought we should catch up …” (works better than you might think – especially as it’s genuine.)
All of the above are just “openers”. You can then continue with:
– “How have things developed with …..?
– “I’m putting together our budgets for rest of the year. Rather than rely on guess work I thought I’d be upfront and ask what the likelihood was that you’ll be needing us?”
– “While we’re talking, what are going to be the key issues / projects for you this year?” etc.
It’s probably best to avoid specifically asking for work but you can end the conversation with something like: “Well, it’s been good talking with you again. Let’s keep in touch, and if there’s anything you ever think I might be able to help you with, don’t hesitate to give me a call.” You must ensure that you don’t sound desperate – even if you are!
The purpose of your call is to keep in touch and to serve your clients, ex-clients and contacts better. You’ll be surprised how many ex-clients will give you some more work – and so will your clients and contacts.
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