What is it that regularly blows apart business development efforts? The lack of follow up.

Financial services firms can do an excellent job at marketing their business to their target clients and influencers, but then they undo their efforts and lose their ROI without the proper follow up.

And, let’s face it, marketing, networking, and building connections without following them up makes the effort a big waste of time and money from the very start.

Follow-up can be uncomfortable, especially when you would rather be managing your portfolio or designing new products instead of seeking sales, but it isn’t hard; anyone can do it.

How can you make your follow up easier and more successful?

  1. Care for your contact – Really

Don’t call or email a contact to follow them up when you are in a rush or when you’re stressed. Instead, take a couple of minutes to think about what you are going to say. Think about what you can do for them, and then contact them with a positive frame of mind.

  1. Focus on building relationships

The more focused you are on just getting to know the other person, the more authentic you will behave. When face to face, find out something about them and their life. Look for common ground as well as traversing the expected corporate territory. Common ground can make relationship-building a lot easier and a lot more memorable for both parties.

  1. Be consistent and responsive

Prospects want you to be predictable and professional, but not forceful. If they ask you for a proposal, or invite you to send some more information, do it quickly. Taking your time is disrespectful and makes you look disorganized.

  1. Watch your follow-up slip ups

When you haven’t done it for a while, follow up can seem daunting, and people can often slip into “too busy” mode and put it off. Postponement is usually a signal that your fears, nerves, or feelings are getting in the way of the needs of your business.

  1. Find a system that works for you – and within your flow

You can find thousands of tools out there to help you manage your contacts, such as CRM systems, project management tools and others. Don’t be tempted to implement a fancy one (unless you already use one). Make sure you implement the system that works within your daily workflow. If you get to things based on your inbox, use one of those systems that remind you via email. If you follow your calendar, use it to remind you of the follow up.

Just remember that all prospects are as busy and preoccupied as you, and a little reminder of a meeting or great idea they heard is never a bad thing.