Following up does not mean “chasing”

This is a common mistake that many businesses make. Both in terms of execution and understanding. 

Chasing a customer is when they have something of value that you want. You’re chasing them to give you something, therefore they have something of high value.

People chase things they can’t get and it often makes you look desperate.

You probably call this process “following up” and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I’ll explain the term “leading up” in a bit and the difference between the two. 

The reason I call this process “leading up” is very simply because the mindset is that we are leading the customer to a better future. WE have the thing they desire.

If they chase us, we have something of desire and they “follow up” with us.

Meanwhile we’re “leading up” and leading our customers to the better, brighter future which they deserve. 

If you still want to call it follow up, I’m not going to argue with you. It’s only a dumb change in words to try and frame the mindset around getting the customer onto your product.

But for the rest of this section I’m going to refer to the process as “leading up”.

Imagine you had a member of staff really keen to learn a new skill like copywriting. They’ve displayed some interest in the past and you think they’d benefit from this new skill.

You also believe that your business, team and projects would benefit from them learning this new skill. As their leader, they have approached you asking to better themselves.

You make some calls, get a programme together and are now looking for the staff member to confirm their dates and time and start their training.

If they are busy or have stuff to do, or if they take some time off and come back a week later, do you a) chase them or b) lead them?

The question is “do you follow their direction and timescales, or do they follow yours?” The answer of course is b) lead them.

They are your member of staff and in your team. With all the best will in the world, people forget stuff and life happens.

But you know that life is better for them and you if they take this training. So we lead them towards action, rather than just reminding them.

There are three levels of this type of communication, starting with the weakest, chasing, which we’ve talked about. Then follow up, which is better but lacks a specific angle. Then leading up, the strongest of the styles.

Some examples of chasing might be:

“Hey Mike, I was wondering if you saw the times for the training?” or “did you get a chance to read over the programme?”

It’s leaving the ball in their court and assuming that the reader will get the hint. This type of chasing is based around the idea that we don’t want to put pressure on people or force them into a decision.

It’s weak, ineffective and tells them that you value being liked by them, more than helping them.

Follow up emails or communication might look like this:

“Hey Mike, just a reminder that your contract is ready to go here” or “Remember to sign your project proposal here and we can get started!”

These are much better and are beginning to give direction to the reader. They’re telling them what to do or at least reminding them of what they need to do next.

Finally, leading up looks like this:

“Hey Mike, I want to make sure our team has the bandwidth to start your project. I need you to sign here and send over the deposit and we can get started today.”

Specific, clear and we’re taking charge. If this was our staff member we’d be telling them that the dates have been set and they need to book some time to do the work.

Your customers are looking for someone to take charge and direct them to the best option.

As with the pitch, assume the sale. Assume they want the project to start. Assume your customer wants to work with you and buy. 

Assume that they are like the staff member that wants to do the training. Assume the sale.

Mike Killen

Mike is the world's #1 sales coach for marketing funnel builders. He helps funnel builders sell marketing funnels to their customers. He is the author of From Single To Scale; How single-person, small and micro-businesses can scale their business to profit. You can find him on Twitter @mike_killen.