How to Follow Up

Follow-up is important when dealing with media, bookstores, and others who can help you to sell more books. Here are some tips on how to effectively follow-up on sales pitches, press releases, speaking proposals and other book marketing activities.

Schedule a regular time each day to follow up, say each morning when you start working. Make following up a part of your daily routine, schedule it like an appointment and enter it on your calendar. Allot a set amount of time to enter contact information and call or email contacts.

In email, summarize the reason you are communicating in the subject line. For example, “Lunch on June 6th.” Then elaborate on it more fully in the body of the email message. By identifying the topic in the subject line, your contacts can know the purpose of your communiqué without having to open it and can deal with it at a convenient time.

Keep emails short, don’t get wordy. Say just enough to make your clearly make your point.

If you leave a telephone message, state your name first and then say why you are calling. It will provide context for who you are and the reason you are calling. If you call and reach your contact, state your name, ask how he/she is and than say why you called.

Send email with a return receipt in order to verify that it was received. Also program your email to automatically provide your contact information in a signature file. Signature files appear at the bottom of outgoing emails and list your contact information. In addition to your name, business, address, telephone number, fax number and Web address, signature files can also give your business motto or your sound bite. When sending faxes, include a fax cover sheet that provides the same or similar information that is in your signature file.

When a contact shows interest and promises to call you back, try to pin him/her down regarding when you can expect the call. If he/she doesn’t call within the appointed time, which is likely, call or email to provide him/her with a gentle reminder.

There will be times when you are not be the right fit for certain contacts. On those occasions, try to salvage something positive by being pleasant and keeping open the channels of communication. If you can’t build a business relationship, try to build a friendly relationship. Thank contacts for their time and request the names of others who might help as well as you contacts’ permission to say they referred you.

Reprinted from “Rick Frishman‘s Sunday Tips”
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