5 Effective Ways Virtual Assistants Can Follow Up To Get More Clients

5 Effective Ways Virtual Assistants Can Follow Up To Get More Clients

Follow up that falls flat is wasting your networking time.

As a virtual assistant, you probably know by now that everything in your business can’t be done virtually.

Most things can – but when it comes to meeting new clients, the quickest way is still in person.

When you see people face to face, trust builds more quickly and easily.

Online connections have their place, but face to face networking is really something you should get used to in your business.

And when you do, make sure you have an effective follow up strategy.

Meeting people in person takes more time, so you want to make sure you are making the most of your time by building a solid foundation for those new connections.

Here are 5 effective things you can do to follow up with a new connection:

1. Collect business cards or contact info.

When you go to an event, you often meet more than one person at a time. It will be difficult to remember all of the details about everyone, so be sure to get their contact info so you can reach out to them afterwards.

Even if you think you have only met a few good connections, it saves you time when you get home to connect again.

Bring your own business cards to hand out as well. The other person may not contact you (if they don’t do good follow up!) but it is always professional to be able to hand out your card, and often it becomes a conversation starter.

2. Send them a resource or something of value.

After you have met someone, send them an initial email letting them know that you enjoyed meeting them, what you liked about the event, and something that you think might be of value to them.

Sometimes that is a link to one of your blog posts that was the topic of a conversations. Or maybe you send them the name of a book from an author you spoke about. Or a link to and event you discussed.

Whatever you send them, make sure it’s in line with what you talked about at the event. Relevancy is important – it shows that you were listening.

3. Ask before adding them to your mailing list.

Even though you can technically add someone to your mailing list when they give you their business card, always ask them first. I always prefer to have people reach out directly to me after I give them my card – rather than just starting to send me their newsletter.

Because it often takes up to 10 ‘touches’ for someone to move from being a prospect to a client, you don’t want to lose them right away by dumping them onto your newsletter list. Those touches really should be made personally if you met face to face.

4. Introduce yourself afterwards if you didn't have a conversation.

Some events allow you to put your business card at everyone’s place setting, or they provide you with a swag bag with marketing materials in it.

If this is the case, and you find yourself with a handful of business cards, start at the beginning. Reach out to the person and introduce yourself as you would have in person. If you can get the opportunity to have a quick phone call it’s even better.

Try not to discount anyone from their business card. Reach out to everyone. You never know where your next client will come from.

If someone doesn’t look like they might be your client, they could still have a great network, and be a potential referral source. Take a few minutes to explore their business and you might be surprised.

5. Connect with people on their social networks.

After every event, take some time to connect with everyone you met or came into contact with on social media. That doesn’t mean add them as a friend on Facebook. You can do that, but I prefer add only actual friends to my Facebook. But by all means check out all of their social media pages, and follow or like the ones that are suitable.

While you are there, explore a little bit about what they post and who they are speaking to. Add that information to your follow up notes in case it is relevant to your conversations.

Social media is meant to be social, so don’t just follow them and be done with it. Take the opportunity to reach out and send them a personal message. And like and share their stuff. The best way to get a referral is to give one first. The same goes for social media. Share other people’s stuff and they’ll share yours.

The fortune is in the follow up.

You may have heard that saying and it’s true.

Why spend your time networking if you are not going to work to make those connections stronger?

And when you develop a system that works for you, your follow up can be flawless and regular. And you will get clients sooners.

For more great info about networking for your VA business, check out my free networking videos for Virtual Assistants on my Youtube channel.

The Art of Follow-Up

Follow up marketing strategies are the most underused strategies – you may have heard that it takes 4 to 10 connections with a potential client before they actually sign on to work with you.

That’s why follow up is so important. Do miss out on those valuable connections!

Here are 8 tips for you to do better follow up:

1. Follow-up needs to be timely

Always follow-up sooner rather than later. For every day you wait, you lessen the impact of the follow-up communication.

For follow-up strategies such as acknowledging referrals, testimonials, new acquaintances, new business and so on, do your best to follow up in one or two days.

2. Follow-up needs to be frequent

The frequency and amount of follow-up needed depends on the reason and method for your follow-up. For example, if you are following up regarding an upcoming teleseminar, you may be contacting your list a total of 5 times over the two weeks leading up to and including the date of the teleseminar.

Or if you're following up after someone has downloaded your free giveaway, you may have 20 follow-up emails in your autoresponder sequence that goes out over a six month period to them.

Don't be afraid of following up too frequently. And remember to always provide a way for them to remove themselves from the conversation (virtual or other) you've started with them.

3. Follow-up needs to be consistent

Not only does follow up need to be frequent, it needs to be consistent.

As with any marketing strategy you choose to do, if you do not do it on a regular basis and do it haphazardly, then that's what you'll get in return – haphazard results.

Remember that marketing (including follow up) is about building a relationship and if people hear from you a couple times and then not for a few months, they're not going to get a warm, fuzzy feeling about you. Consistently following up shows people that you value them, are reliable and committed to providing a service to them.

4. Follow-up needs to build momentum

Frequency and consistency with follow-up marketing allows for momentum to occur. I define momentum in marketing as each strategy and communication builds on each other and are linked together.

For example, you might start your second email by saying, "8 days ago I sent you an email..." Or after they've purchased a product or downloaded an ebook, send them a handful of emails that highlight something specific about the product or in the report that can help them.

Referencing the previous communication links what you’re saying with what you’ve already said, and reminds your prospect that you care enough to continue the conversation.

5. Follow-up needs to be organized

To ensure that your follow-up marketing is consistent, you need to organize it by putting it in your calendar and on your to-do list.

When you carve out time in your daily and weekly schedule for follow-up activities, then you go a long way towards actually doing them! How many of us get things done that we haven't made time for? Not very many of us I'll bet!

So put a half-hour aside each Friday to write some thank you notes, and schedule an hour each Monday to write your weekly ezine, and an hour every second Wednesday to write a new email message to send to your list.

6. Follow-up needs to be automated

Try to automate your follow-up marketing as much as you can. All of us are busy and the more we can systematize our marketing, the easier and quicker we can start reaping the rewards.

Luckily there is an abundance of tools and people you can use to simplify and automate your follow-up activities – from autoresponders to full contact management systems to Virtual Assistants.

An example of automating your follow-up marketing would be an ecommerce program that sends out automatic emails in a series after someone purchases your product, or a company that formats and sends out your ezine, or a VA who produces and sends out electronic greeting and thank you cards for you.

7. Follow-up needs reliable data

To take advantage of many of the ways to follow up with your prospects and clients, you need to have a system in place that captures information about people and keeps track of interactions and communications you have with everyone.

Use a CRM to gather and store information like client's birthdays, business anniversary dates, purchasing information, emails that were sent, and so on.

8. Follow-up needs to have varied delivery methods.

Keep your follow-up marketing interesting and keep people intrigued by using different methods of delivery. Incorporate email, telephone, direct mail, audio and so on, to provide variety in how you connect with people and grab their attention.

If you incorporate these 8 components into your follow-up marketing – or actually any marketing tactics that you employ – it will go a long way to helping you market more quickly, easily and consistently.