Stop right now – in the middle of whatever marketing or advertising project you are painstakingly planning. And don’t do anything else until you are crystal clear about how , exactly, you plan to follow-up.

Now, what do I mean by “Follow-up Strategy”? I am talking about the whole sales process you have in place – a system of moving people from first-contact through some qualifying activities, and, once they are sufficiently warmed-up – into a sales conversation.

Here is an example follow-up strategy I recently shared with a man who is in the business of helping people leave corporate jobs to start their own businesses.

He is planning on doing talks for small groups – a great marketing idea. My suggestion to him was that he should develop a multiple-choice “quiz” for his participants to take home. The topic would cover questions to determine whether someone is really ready to give up paycheck security and head out on their own. His expertise will easily provide the appropriate questions and answer choices.

The key, however, is not to make it a self-scoring quiz, like in Teen magazines, but one which the participant would need to submit to him, via fax or email, for instance, or with an online-version of the form. This would give him the opportunity to have a preliminary sales conversation via a brief “consultation” about their results.

The great thing about this is that he will know upfront how qualified the prospect is, and will be able to deliver just the right information to help them decide to work with him, and if it seems to him that they really might not be ready to strike out on their own, he can provide that honest assessment to them – and promise to follow-up with them in 3 to 6 months to see if they are now ready.

Plus, now that he has made initial contact with these prospects, even if they aren’t ready to sign up for his services yet, he can put them into some drip-marketing system, such as a mailing list, and set a reminder to check back-in in-person at an appropriate time in the future.

So, can you use this example as inspiration for your own Follow-up strategy?