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The Fortune Is In the Follow-up


How good are you at follow-up? You know that is where the money is.

I was talking with a few of my clients who were heading back from Quilt Market with lots of follow-up items. Some were clearly immediate, such as filling orders, and those get processed right away.

The problem for my clients was that they came back with all these notes that weren’t really money related or where they couldn’t see the clear money connection or where they couldn’t remember the conversation. Plus they felt overwhelmed getting back in gear. And, the follow-up is in question.

What I have found through the years is that when I pay attention to following up on a consistent and timely basis, it lets me build better relationships, which is really my goal, and that means adding to my business bottom line. Here are some ideas to help you with follow-up.

Plan your follow-up before the event.

I have a small notebook that I bring every year when I go to Quilt Market or other shows. I track ideas that come to me, connections I make, and important follow-up that is needed. If I take someone’s business card, I can staple or tape it into the notebook with comments so I’ll remember what I need to do when I get back to the studio.

If you just returned with a mass of cards and notes, try adjusting the approach until you can put it in place for the next trip. Gather all the notes and cards in a folder so they are in one place. Be sure any business cards or extra note for one contact are all clipped together. That will help you feel less scattered as you begin your follow-up

Organize your list and prioritize.

Once you’ve got your notebook or folder in front of you, start to go through the contents. Who needs to be contacted first and by when?

Consider which items will bring you the greatest return. It’s always easier to pick the ones that can get handled quickly, but it’s important to consider which will provide the greatest return to your business.

Set aside time in your calendar for the follow-up. Try to schedule the follow-up for the first few days after the contact. Of course, this may take several sessions to complete.

Determine the goal for follow-up.

You had a reason for collecting someone’s card or making notes. Take time to consider what you want to have happen as a result of the follow-up.

Do you want to get a distributor to pick up your pattern line? Do you need more information for your next step in a project? Do you need someone to make an introduction for you?

Being clear on your goal often makes the difference in whether or not it’s accomplished.

Consider your options for follow up.

Email may be the easiest and fastest. In today’s social media savvy world, connecting online may be appropriate.

You also might consider making a phone call, leaving a voice mail or writing a personal note. You are better able to express your energy through a phone call.

And, so few of us receive handwritten notes that they are often remembered.

Regardless of the method you choose, just take action and follow up.

It’s your turn!

Do you have a method that you use to streamline and follow through with follow-up?

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2 Responses to “The Fortune Is In the Follow-up”

  1. Laura Estes said:

    Note book is such a good idea. I have added it to my check list for Spring Market. Even though I was not at Houston personally, I am following up with distributors and shops who may have seen models I did for companies and stencils I designed. Lets them know I am still around and new product is available.

  2. Morna said:

    Laura, I had lunch with a friend on Wednesday and she pulled out her notebook and showed me her Market notes, complete with checked off items. I told her that was what I had written about. Her notebook is really more a journal with notes from all her business activities, including her accomplishments.

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