Why follow up is the most important skill for VR creators
Have you ever spent so long creating the perfect email to someone, getting that perfect balance of funny and professional, short and concise, so it doesn't take too much time to read, but also, long enough to have enough context and to really try and build a rapport with this person that you're reaching out to?
And then two weeks later, when you've not had a response, you can't help but take it really personally and think maybe you're sitting by your inbox waiting for the day that that person replies. In today's episode, I'm going to be talking you through the most important skill, I believe every single person in the VR industry should have and that is the art of follow up. I'm Alex Rühl, and this is the Alex Makes VR podcast.
Read the full transcription below or listen to the podcast episode here
So about a month ago, I put out an episode called, I think it was called finding the right clients, or the best way to find clients. It was episode number two of my 31 Day Challenge, which if you haven't listened to that series, I think you'll get loads of value from it. Every day, basically, for 31 days, I answered a new creative or business related question from VR creators, or people looking to get into the VR space. And in that episode, what I outlined was an email template that has made me a lot of money. But not only that, but it's made listeners of the podcast a lot of money because it's crazy how much of a difference it makes to have a good killer email etiquette. So I broke down a formula in that episode about how to go about reaching out to new people, new clients, new collaborators, whatever it might be just a really simple formula and a new way to think about emails.
What I didn't say in that episode, which I probably should have alluded to, is that that is only half the battle. Writing that killer email is like giving yourself is like fueling the car, right? It's like filling up the tank with gas writing. Writing the perfect opening email is like filling up your car full of petrol and follow up is driving the car. Right? So you've given yourself the best chance possible for someone to reply to your email if you followed that formula. But the next step is acknowledging that there are 1,000,001 reasons why someone wouldn't necessarily get around to reading that email. Now, don't get me wrong. Some of the people that read that email will not want your service, for all sorts of reasons, but they're not your target audience maybe or maybe they're just not interested at that time. There's 1,000,001 reasons. There'll be a couple of people, maybe one or two, that get back to you straight away. And they're like, yes, this is perfect. This is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you for reaching out. And then there's this other group of people. They probably appreciate the email, but they were doing 1,000,001 things that day, or their calendar was back to back or they were right in the middle of writing a proposal or they looked at their email on their phone and they forgot to mark it as starred or unread so they forgot to come back to it.
There's 1,000,001 reasons why someone might not have replied to that email. And now they forgotten about it. And because it wasn't necessarily a priority for them, because if it was a priority, they would have been in the other camp of people that just reached out straight away but because if the email wasn't a priority, they've kind of forgotten about it.
And so this is where follow up comes in. I always say, if I don't hear from you, I'll follow up in a couple of weeks or something to the effect of or you know, would there be a good time to talk? If there's not a suitable time, then I'll
follow up with you in a couple of weeks time or something. So you can actually add that into your initial email if you want. It depends on how long your email is to begin with because that gives someone the opportunity to just reply and say no thank you because they know that you're going to follow up with them if they don't reply to you. So that might be an option. But if if not, regardless, either way, I always, especially if it's someone that I'm really, really interested in hearing back from, I will set a kind of alert in my calendar. I live by my calendar, set an alert in your calendar for two weeks time from when you sent that email. Just gently remind yourself, email so and so with a follow up. And this is how you want to do the follow up.
The follow up, the art of follow up, is to not make it seem like you're pissed off that they haven't replied to you. Because what you want to do, is be overly empathetic with the fact there are 1,000,001 reasons why that person might have replied. Okay - you are not the centre of their universe. You didn't expect to reply, you're not you know, you're not angry. They didn't reply. You are just generally curious.
Whether you can be of service to them, okay, so in the follow up, you want to write something to the effect of:
Hey, so and so. I'm just following up on the email that I sent you the other week, just wondering if you'd had time to consider it. Absolutey, no worries if not. I appreciate that you've probably been very busy. If there's a good time to call this week, let me know. If not, I'll follow up with you again in a couple of weeks time. Kind regards, or thanks...
So something to that effect. super short, super simple. Always have the email that you sent originally in that chain. This brings it back to the email you've already send and moves to the top of their inbox again.Also, there's something psychologically about seeing RE before a subject that makes you go, "Oh, this must be a conversation I've already." Psychologically they are more inclined to click on it, so there's a slight little capitalisation on psychology there.
But that's kind of the formula to follow up. And you will be amazed with the amount of people that come back to you and go, "Oh, hey, yeah, sorry for the delay. And yeah, we'd love to jump on a call." Something like that - the amount of times, I would say probably out of 10 emails sent, I would say, maybe one gets back and then five, once I followed up, we'll then get back within that and then obviously, there's some people that just will never reply, because they're not actually interested but they can't be bothered to reply to say not interested and that's fine. Again, they don't owe you anything, so that's fine. But there's so much in the follow up, especially if you are reaching out to very big or very, quote unquote important people because they will have 1,000,001 things to do on their to do list. For example, I only really go my emails twice a day. There's a lot I need to do to actually drive my own business and career.
Psychologically, is it better to send an email first thing in the morning? Because then it's at the top of someone's inbox, or is it best to send it just after lunch? because, again, they'll be coming back from lunch. There's all of that stuff that you could think about. But I would keep it simple just for now. I wouldn't think too much into that - just roughly two weeks after you've sent the initial email, follow up. I personally, don't ever send those kind of emails on a Friday, because no one's looking at them on a Friday. No one in the history of the planet wants to be replying to a new potential client or a new potential vendor or a new potential collaborator on a Friday. I could be wrong but in my experience, I've just never seen it happen. So I will always try and send it either midweek or the beginning of the following week. Ideally, not on a Monday though, because Monday again, people have had a weekend, they're coming back, they've got 1,000,001 emails that come in over the weekend. They've got a million things to do. They've got to talk with their team, you know, all of that Monday morning stuff that you have to deal with. So ideally, maybe send the first email on a Tuesday or Wednesday, and a few weeks later you follow up on a Thursday?
Anyway, I'm getting into the weeds now and I don't want to. I want to keep it simple. For the next couple of clients that you send emails to or the next couple of people you do reach out to, just put a note in your calendar to follow up. And you might be pleasantly surprised. I want to hear from you. If that does happen, please let me know because the amount of amazing emails or messages or DMS that I get from the first email template has really blow my mind. So please let me know if you've had success with this. I hope you do.
Okay, I think that's it for the art of follow up. I think that's probably going to be like the name of a book of mine. At one point, I feel like I feel like I'd be doing the world an injustice if I didn't bring out a book called The Art of follow up. It's one of those core business practices that gets really overlooked. And once you start to get into the habit of sending an email and then immediately scheduling in your calendar to follow up, it's an absolute game changer.
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