If there is one item that shows up in the Top 3 items that I continually hear in discussion of what frustrates people, it would be failure to follow up with communication! It comes in various forms:
- Not returning a phone call in a promised timeframe.
- Failure to complete a task, and not following up with the stakeholders to let them know why.
- Not responding to an e-mail, or text, or communication, to simple say something like “I did get your message”, “No, thank you”, or “I appreciate your efforts, but I am not interested at this time”.
While there are efforts to make contact that seem pushy, one sided, or a waste of your time, it should be remembered that If you had a employee whose job was RELATIONSHIP, and they were not trying to make contact as hard as the person that is trying to contact you, you would likely be disappointed. In addition, you should also be trying hard to make contact!
I had a discussion with a company owner recently, who indicated that despite their hardest efforts, many companies that could really use their product, simply are often not responsive. They went so far as to tell me that a potential client company in their community had literally gone out of business, despite their two year effort to establish a relationship with the failed company. What is more (and actually the bigger proof), the competition in town, which uses the product supplied by my contact company, has grown exponentially as a result of the failed company’s closure. “Oh, the possibilities, if not for a stubborn, owner, and a “do it myself” attitude that took that company into the ground! Why won’t they simply say “hello”.”
I would admit, up front, that the volumes of “stuff” (some people would call it JUNK) that come through out lines of communication, are incredible. Somehow, our e-mails are overwhelmed with ads and promotions to try and gain our attention. Our phones ring with voices of people trying to get us to buy something, and even out text messages include a “last chance for this great deal”, brought to us by the sharing of our e-mail and phone numbers by some service with a disclaimer deep inside of their legal agreement. It is challenging, and we can all find ourselves stuck in the middle of all the messages.
How do we help a client (or ourselves) disseminate between good calls, and everything else. A few points to consider:
- Start using the phone. While all of the electronic systems generate gobs of contacts, ultimately, a personal voice, or voice message, can lead to a returned call. Don’t be pushy, but simply afford a short value proposition, and a desire to make an introduction.
- Set expectations with your contact or prospect up front. Letting them know a call back would be helpful to establish a basis of communication, or that your intent is not to overwhelm, but to introduce.
- If you are using e-mail, ask for affirmation. “If you would have interest in (the above mentioned service or product discussion), please follow up with me”. If there is no response, it is their decision, not your frustration. This can save you time from over pursuing a contact.
Have I peeked your interest? Perhaps my article intrigues you to consider some further discussion? If you do have interest, a follow up message to Mile Marker Business and Consulting Services, LLC at the below e-mail might just be the right next step (see, even I used an affirmation!). The Mile Marker is a great place to stop, and to begin establishing a communication strategy for new client opportunities. Let’s start a conversation!
David R. Alexander, President
Mile Marker Business and Consulting Services, LLC