“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
~~ Thomas Edison


This month ends two years of writing my blog. I’m rather proud that I’ve been able to keep up the pace and maintain a healthy readership. Thanks to all of you who continue to follow me. I’m both humbled and grateful!

Most of my topics up until now prepare you to be powerful at following up with people. Being skilled at this task likely means you are meeting or exceeding your goals. Wouldn’t it be nice to meet someone and immediately turn that meeting into business? Unfortunately, it very rarely works that way. But, fortunate for us, today we have so many tools available whereby we can be creative and effective in the way we follow up with people.

Like it or not, we are pretty much open books due to the Internet.  You’d have to be a mole burrowed in the ground to escape this violation into your life!  So, what should you do?  Jump on the band wagon (which we’ll talk about next month)!  Let Google be your best friend – even in the business of following up with others.  By doing so, you can be more strategic in your methods of following up.

Examples could run the gambit, but let me share a personal example that you might be able to apply to your particular circumstances in some fashion.

Situation:  I manage two Healthcare Think Tank chapters.  Every month I line up key speakers to present at the meetings.  In many instances, particularly in Austin, I am cold calling on the prospective speaker, many of whom are protected by well-trained gatekeepers.  Following are the steps I take:

  • Google the prospective speaker and study him/her.  Learn about the company or, in the case of a politician, the positions taken.
  • Make the initial phone call.  If talking to a point person, I simply state, very congenially, the purpose of my call and ask if I can send the details in an email.  If leaving a voice message, I state that I will be sending an email detailing the nature of my call.
  • Google my contact person.  I look at Facebook and LinkedIn.  I want to get a better feel for who they are so that I can more effectively engage them.
  • Send the email.  Use the option tab to ask for delivery and read notifications.
  • If I don’t receive a response back within 24 hours, I generally call and leave a message asking if they received my email, and I reiterate how I so hope that Mr./Ms. will be able to be our guest.
  • I always try to engage this point person on a personal level so that he/she might go the extra mile to help me.  After all, we have become buddies!
  • There are so many ways to say “thank you” and I use them all.

It is critical that you know who you are trying to win over, whether it is directly or indirectly.  DO YOUR HOMEWORK!  Do NOT follow-up flying blind!  It simply does not work.  In my example, I know that in many situations it will be the gatekeeper who is going to ultimately call the shots.  Treat them with utmost respect.  It will pay off in spades.

Now for my featured person.  It is a banker whom I met when he moved to San Antonio in 2001, InformalKen Raymie.  Though his career carried him in different directions over the course of years, even for a stint in Seattle to follow wife Robyn in her career, he always kept in touch.  I think all of us can agree that life can be so busy at times, making it difficult to maintain connections with people who have drifted out of your day-to-day life.  Ken never let that happen.  Now he and Robyn, along with their precious baby Max are back in San Antonio, and it’s as if he was never gone.  Ken is Vice President of Commercial Services at Generations Federal Credit Union.  He also serves with me as Co-chair of a major North Chamber event.  Because Ken, over the many years, was steadfast in keeping in touch and following-up to maintain our relationship, we are now working together in several capacities