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Follow-Up Strategy

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux 

Photo from LinkedIn Sales Solutions in Unsplash

I was thinking about some of the lessons that my mother shared with me about what it was like when she was dating and these milestone moments that she had and how that could match the things that I was going through. For whatever reason, only today did it dawn on me that this does not mean that is right for me. I sort of already knew that part, but I also do not take it literally as it is anecdotal a guidepost, a point of reference- but not a literal thing that I should think about. This is how we did it back in the day (three years ago feels like back in the day, like pre-pandemic versus right now).

So I do not know why that just took place today. I am recording this on the winter solstice and it is dawning on me that anything my mom told me is probably meant for guidance and not like a literal map for my life. Before ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ it was like me trying to keep up with my mother and all the great achievements she had in her career.

This is also having me think about resumes and job descriptions: how I think of job descriptions in particular, all those lists of requirements, and how I am very much in the camp right now of not taking them. These must-haves and qualifications seem like a holiday or birthday wish list, where everything under the moon could be there and no person can fit. Nevertheless, you may fit a lot of the criteria. So, apply anyway. I am very much starting to feel like it is not a matter of something to take literally but rather some milestones or guideposts for what the team thinks they need or they are looking for. Even if you do not fit exactly, there might be other ways where you might do that they did not consider in the requirements section.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4PQYTciA0Q

The hard part is having the conversation with people but this new way of looking at things frees me up to contemplate all the creative ways in which my answers might show up. 

In thinking about what to do -I mean when I say you need to have a follow-up strategy-, I kind of spell it out in a few different ways. One is persistent contact with somebody. My guidance around that comes from, I must say, blogpost. I am not even sure I do too much research and I am always learning.

I met somebody who was pioneering in adopting different technologies -and maybe was even a part of the early group for Google circles or something- and had the idea to stay in constant contact with people, but not in traditional ways like: ‘Hey, uh, did you get my last message?’ Adding value is important. So for her, it was in different ways.

Do you stay in touch with people? Maybe send them a thank you note or just contact them on LinkedIn to perhaps endorse them for things that they can do. There are a lot of different ways to stay in touch other than just writing another message that you feel like you do not have the time or patience for. A follow-up strategy for me is born out of my attempts at sales. I am not a fan of the sales roles for myself. Other people can be good at it, but for me, selling myself is more about showing ways in which I could help. That is really what I want to do: help. So, I did a couple of roles that consisted of being persistent, which were a little more sales-focused since they were talking about networking and learning. It is very much about building relationships versus being very transaction-oriented.

Do you stay in touch with people? Maybe send them a thank you note or just contact them on LinkedIn to perhaps endorse them for things that they can do. There are a lot of different ways to stay in touch other than just writing another message that you feel like you do not have the time or patience for. A follow-up strategy for me is born out of my attempts at sales. I am not a fan of the sales roles for myself. Other people can be good at it, but for me, selling myself is more about showing ways in which I could help. That is really what I want to do: help.

Photo from Mimi Thian in Unsplash

So, I did a couple of roles that consisted of being persistent, which were a little more sales-focused since they were talking about networking and learning. It is very much about building relationships versus being very transaction-oriented.

In that regard, if you are building a relationship and you think about it in this new way, you are not necessarily going out to get something from somebody’s job search. It is more about actually wanting to get to know the other and lean into their experience. You may tell them: ‘I have got some questions about the industry. Maybe you could help.’ Then, you would start building that relationship and you would not have to say everything in the first couple of points of contact with that person. You might reach out to them up to eight times. So all of these things are not necessarily like ‘Hey, did you get my last message?’ or ‘Hey, let’s talk.’. It is making it less about a chore that you have to do, but rather just a kind of thinking about that person and what you could do to be a value or help, as well as staying in touch multiple times throughout eight intentional reachouts. It all can be helpful in terms of that follow-up strategy.

Another aspect of the follow-up strategy is changing the channel of communication when they are not responding. What I mean by that is some of us live on LinkedIn, we are always there, even really recruiting. I was there a lot myself. But some are choosing not to be. It is okay, I am going to be all-inclusive about it. But if they are not responding to your messages, and especially if you are connected and you can get access to their contact information, why do you not go and see where else they are sharing? If they are sharing their Twitter account, then positively tweet them. I am all about positive communication, reaching out and connecting with them through different channels, whether it is email or different social media platforms. Finding out where they are, if they are not specifically on LinkedIn at that moment, is also a good way to approach the follow-up strategy.

https://youtu.be/gs3m0GLyV30

To summarize through that follow-up strategy, I very much recommend creative ways of staying in touch. That could mean I am endorsing them on LinkedIn for skills that you know they have expertise in to stay in touch with them for longer, aka intentional reach out. I suggest six to eight times because around the sixth one, according to research, the movement forward starts to happen. They might start to be ready to carry that forward. Alternatively, if you were that person and you had persistent reachouts, they will be able to recognize in you that you are interested in that opportunity or to talk to them specifically. The other piece to follow up on is to change the channel of communication when you are not getting responses after a few attempts on one platform. So if you live on LinkedIn like I do, and you are reaching out to a lot of people and having those communications but they are not responding, then try them on Twitter or email. Finding different places that people prefer to hang out can go a long way towards making that connection that you are looking for.

https://youtu.be/Kg21TjYlyos
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