Don't Sell Yourself Short: The Art of Follow-Through
Katherine is a consultant. She can be quiet, but she is good at making connections. At meetings and events, she has learned to approach people. She listens. She's warm and friendly. She sincerely wants to help, so she offers all kinds of information and mutual introductions.
Katherine is also a busy woman. At the end of a meeting or event, she is already on to the next thing.
Do you think Katherine gets a lot of business because of her warmth and ability to make connections?
The answer is, well, yes, but not nearly as much as she could.
Katherine has yet to master the art of the follow-through.
Follow-through isn't just a matter of forcing yourself, nose to the grindstone. It's not that simple. Even successful people like Katherine can hold themselves back. She wants to do what she promised, but it sometimes just doesn't happen.
If follow-through is such a great idea, why don't we do it?
It's not laziness. The most common reason is that we think too little of ourselves. You might think, they won't want to hear from me, I'll never get that great client.
Having the confidence that you at least have a good chance, and it's worth the effort, goes a long way to improving follow-through.
Building your own self-confidence by supportive self-talk is a good way to get past this barrier.
This internal pep talk doesn't have to be grandiose. It can simply be acknowledging what you experienced. "This client does want to hear from me - she said so." and "I know I can offer him great value with what I offer. I want to at least be heard and give my work a chance to shine."
Katherine's discomfort with her feelings of inadequacy can spill out in other ways. She's uncomfortable with those feelings, so she moves too quickly on to the next thing, and simply forgets, leaving promises unfulfilled.
It may seem like a small thing, an article she forgets to send, or an introduction she neglects to make.
To someone she just met, though, she's a charming woman who didn't do what she said she'd do.
Doing what you say you're going to do is one of the hallmarks of a good business. It's one of the four pillars of business success. It builds trust like nothing else.
Consistency of follow-through is important. It determines the degree of your success.
You are probably a lot like Katherine in many ways. You have integrity. You're not someone who just blows things off. You value and respect people. You want to maintain the relationships you have.
If we dig deeper, Katherine's lack of follow-through is at least partially due to busy-ness, just getting overwhelmed with one task after another. Is that true for you?
If you're too busy to follow up, then taking a look at your schedule and your expectations is in order. You may just be too darn busy. Scaling back is not a sign of failure. It's a sign of taking good care of a great asset, your reputation.
And it's also great self-care too. You, as your business' biggest advantage, stop over-extending yourself.
Slowing things down also gives you a better chance to deal with any lack of confidence that may pop up.
No matter what the reason for the lapse in follow-up, you can make follow-through easier.
Set yourself up to master the art of follow-through by getting help. Add reminders to your calendar. If you schedule those in right after a meeting or phone call, you'll be on top of any follow-up you have to do. Send yourself an email or a phone message to remind you.
You can also arrange to create some accountability. Have someone on your team nudge you. Ask an accountability partner to prompt you about what you said you'd do. Use the accountability in coaching to help you stay on track.
These strategies also work if you're one of those people who finds follow-through challenging.
Entrepreneurs tend to be quick starters, and are less naturally inclined to do the needed follow-up. That's where the art of follow-through includes discipline. Either discipline yourself to do it, or create a disciplined process where you communicate and delegate what needs to be done.
You'd probably be surprised how much business is lost by simply not following up. Showing interest by making the effort to follow through automatically sets you apart. It sends a clear message that you want the client's business.
Follow-through isn't just about a response to a specific meeting or phone call. It's also about maintaining relationships over the long run.
Stay in touch with your clients. Repeat business is relatively easy to get from satisfied people. It sure is a lot easier than finding new prospects and building their trust and confidence in you. Repeat clients are also a great source of referrals.
The art of follow-through helps you sell yourself, in the best way, as a person of integrity and honesty. Someone who can be trusted. Every client wants that feeling of trust. You can provide it, by mastering the art of the follow-through.
Ursula Jorch, MSc, MEd, mentors entrepreneurs starting their businesses and seasoned entrepreneurs in transition to create the business of their dreams. Her coaching programs provide knowledge, support, clarity, inspiration, and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs to empower you to reach your goals. Start with a free guide and other valuable info at www.WorkAlchemy.com