Finally, all the hard work is paying off! Your networking events have been full of exciting and promising conversations with ideal clients who have shown a serious interest in working with you. Some have even come on board. It feels like success has arrived!

Go ahead, sit back and savor this—but not for too long. Now you have to keep the conversation going with these prospects to seal the deal. How? By consistently staying in touch, following up on conversations, and following through with building ongoing connections.

Have A Plan

This is one aspect of your business where you can’t fly by the seat of your pants. Follow-up is a critical factor for success, and without a plan you can end up dropping the ball—and losing a potentially lucrative client.

According to a study by the Association of Sales Executives, 81% of all sales happen on or after the fifth contact, so you need a way to keep connecting until you get that “yes.”

There are a variety of plans you can create, from automated email templates to one-on-one calls scheduled at set intervals. What you choose will depend on your particular market and customer base, but have a plan and follow it!

Use Emotion Effectively

A recent Huffington Post article sums this up in three words: “Emotions drive behavior.” When we approach a new goal, we feel hope, get a rush of motivation and determination, and see the vision of all the good that can happen.

But this, says the article, is usually “followed by a thud as the reality of the long road ahead, the work involved and the discomfort of change sets in.” (Think back on those New Year’s resolutions that had you so excited—until the middle of January.)

This is what happens to prospects (and customers) if you don’t keep them in that place of motivation where they continue to see the vision of success.

Keep this in mind during your follow-up marketing. Instead of focusing on all the work that’s ahead, present tasks to them bit by bit and use supportive phrases that build positive emotions like “We can handle this,” or “I’m here for you whenever you need me.”

Keep Building Connections

Make this a consistent part of any marketing strategy. To grow big, you need to continually find ways to connect with people, first on a human level and then in a business relationship. Step in to support someone you met or talked with because you genuinely want to help, not because of what you will gain.

I’ve experienced the power of connections in my own business, and I encourage everyone to put it into practice whenever possible. You’ll be amazed at what happens.