How to Change “Follow Up” to Friendship

So far this week, we’ve talked about spreading the word about what you do, sharing your needs, and doing favors for others.

But all of these things will only get you so far if you just do them once.

Jen Adams here, back to point out a few things about following up.

One of my favorite B2B experts, Steve Slaunwhite, often talks about the concept of “lead nurturing” when it comes to growing your relationships (and your writing business).

Leads are the name given to your future clients. They’re your prospects – the people who you’d like to have interested in you and thinking of you whenever they need a writer.

And nurturing is the process of engaging with these people and then keeping the conversation going, so they know, like, and trust you enough to hire you, refer clients to you, or recommend you to someone else when an appropriate opportunity comes up.

I’ve learned a lot from Steve’s articles about lead nurturing and his lead generation program, but my biggest networking take-away has been this:

Change your mindset from “following up” to maintaining a conversational relationship.

Mentally, this is huge. And it definitely makes relationship building easier.

Before, when I would try to “follow up” with people, I worried about how I looked to them. Was I looking desperate? Was I impressing them in the right ways?

Now, I think of it more in terms of how I’m keeping in touch with current and future friends. And I just mark out a few hours every other week to check in on the blogs, Facebook feeds, and newsletters of the companies and people I’d like to stay friends with over time.

Where it’s appropriate, or I’ve got something relevant to share, I comment on things they’ve done or shared. Maybe I’ll send over an interesting article I liked, or post up something of my own about a project I’ve been working on.

It’s not much … and it feels simple, like a regular conversation. But it does bear fruit.

In April, a woman I’d met at a conference in November sent me a referral, simply because we’d kept in touch over Facebook. Eddie Stephens is collaborating with another AWAI member on a project in his niche – a connection he notes was a lesson in persistence. And Mike Crespo earned access to a premier copywriting library – plus an introduction to his first client – thanks to following up with Kelvin Parker, who he now considers a good friend and mentor.

These stories are just the tip of the iceberg – the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nearly 70% of all job introductions come from simple conversations like this.

So, your simple action step for today is to deepen your connection with someone you’d like to have as a friend, future friend, or future client. Go look them up online. Befriend them on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or wherever they’re active.

Start a conversation … or join one already happening. Remember the smallest action counts, and the goal is simply to nurture the relationship along. All close friends and close contacts were once strangers. But with time and persistence, you’ll be amazed who you come to count on as your closest writing companions.

Share who you’re reaching out to and why in the comments. And tomorrow, I’ll give you one more set of tips that earn extra results for writers.

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Published: May 29, 2014

3 Responses to “How to Change “Follow Up” to Friendship”

  1. I may have gotten my first client simply buying a tire for my car. The mechanic that worked at the tire store is opening his own shop and he expressed some frustration about not knowing how he was going to build his business and draw enough customers. That loud ding was the bell in my head. Granted, it will be a small job (content on his web site and possibly emails),and it won't pay much, but its a start. All from just a friendly conversation.

    Jerry C

  2. Thanks for the mention, Jen. Yes, persistence alongside colleagues works. Thanks for highlighting it.

    Eddie Stephens

    Eddie S

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