Congratulations, you have successfully submitted your research plan or proposal. So you might be thinking, what do I do next? Many researchers tend to be a bit more introverted than other professionals, and the natural inclination would be to wait until the client reaches out to you. However, there are some follow up strategies that may help speed up the process as long as they're permitted. Following up sounds simple, but it should be thought through and applied based on how you assess the potential client. If you feel that follow up is permitted and won't work against you, then there are both active and passive ways of following up. In some cases, government RFPs may discourage or not allow follow up at all, so you need to respect that. Also, there may be times where follow up can hurt you. You should read the RFP instructions carefully to help you determine if follow up is allowed, and if so, whether it is warranted. After this lesson, you'll be able to apply some best practice tips to help you with the follow up strategy with a potential client. Now remember, you might not be able to do these all the time. So again, know what the rules are for your particular situation. Okay, let's get started. Now, I don't know if it's my own biases, but it appears to me that researchers are generally not good salespeople. And they tend to be a little bit more introverted unless they have a director of business development, or somebody that's in charge of business development. They often don't follow up on their proposals. It's a win or lose situation, but they don't do anything to move the needle more in their favor. I think an organization should have a follow up strategy. What are they allowed to do under the guidelines of an RFP process? If there's no RFP process, can they read the client well enough to say without being a pest, I can easily follow up with a passive email? If you follow up and you catch a potential client off guard with a telephone call, that can be a kiss of death. Passive techniques can include a follow up email or written thank you card. It could also be additional information or samples of work that you didn't already include in the original proposal or plan,. It could also be related items or thoughts, such as an article about a related topic, you can open up a door. You can gain points by doing a good proposal. You can gain points by packaging it a particular way, that it reads really nicely, or something about your proposal looks good or feels good. You could potentially get more points by caring, and by caring I want to make sure you receive this proposal, if you have any questions let me know. You're not talking down to them or anything, you're just inviting them to a phone conversation with you. I think just the caring element alone, whether or not the client actually returns the follow up, can help your proposal suddenly stand out. There are three potential outcomes. One, you win the project if you're an external provider of research, and that's a good thing. And then there are certain things that you need to do as a result to keep improving and developing the relationship. Two, you could also lose it, and there's probably things that you can do to be professional, such as thanking them for considering you. And the third is that you never hear back from them again. The never hear back from them again piece is easy. I think it's an uncomfortable thing for them to tell you that you lost, but it doesn't hurt to request an explanation of why you lost, whether or not you heard from the client again or not. My experience tells me that if I ask why we didn't get the bid or the project, about half the times they'll tell me. And if nothing else, I'll send them an email thanking them for the opportunity, and we'd love to know why we didn't win. Sometimes I hear back. If you do get a response, it can be a very informative lesson, and should help you improve your next proposal and make it stronger. You also want to continue to make efforts in developing the relationship even if you lost. You might include them on a newsletter list or email list, or with marketing efforts. I always believe that even if you lose, you could potentially win in the future. I always felt like, okay, if you lost then there will probably be other opportunities in the future. It may come six months later or six years later. You can stay connected very easily and be a resource in their future. We live in an environment where information changes very quickly. You may have an opportunity to return to the client with a different project down the line. I just think that every good researcher that has a sales and marketing strategy should take these potential clients and include them on marketing efforts, or send them reminders and thank you cards for the opportunity. And just show that there's no hard feelings and that you'd welcome another opportunity some other time. You've invested into potentially doing their research project, and even though you didn't win the bid, the organization knows you now, and I think that can give you a great advantage on the next project. So, be careful, but consider what appropriate follow up would be for any given client without overburdening or cluttering the potential client's email box. Adding value to the proposal or plan after you've sent it along could be beneficial to the process and any future decisions to move forward or not.