Don’t Abbreviate Follow Up-Part 1

Sure, you haven’t done it before have you?  You’ve never set up an appointment with a colleague, client, or prospect and used the abbreviation F/U on it.  Well, I guess I am the only one who will be honest here and I will tell you, I have done it more times than I care to think about.  There’s a greater lesson to learn from this however.

I place a lot of value on those who do what they say they are going to do.  Over the years, I have had numerous occasions where I had to meet a particular deadline and had to wait on someone else to complete their portion before I could finish mine.  Most of the time, I would be promised the report or project piece would be completed at 9 am only to receive their work at 2 pm with a 3 pm deadline for me to complete my portion and get it in.  Nothing spins me off into a nuclear come apart as these people do.  So, as a consequence, I have become huge fans of individuals and companies who follow up when they say they are going to follow up.

Recently, my wife and I moved cities and began taste testing churches.  You know the routine, you have to try to find something similar to what you were used to, but without all of the stuff you couldn’t stand about the other church.  I digress.  It never fails that at some point in the service, someone will stand up and ask that you complete a little card to let them know you were there and so someone can reach out to you.  Here’s the kicker.  You give them all of the information and then what happens?   Well, let’s go over three techniques used and how they can impact your business decisions.

Quick, but general email.  Ok, I get it, email is great and convenient and well, impersonal.  Although it’s unobtrusive, if you are truly trying to court a prospect or continue to retain a client, there are times when you just need to pick up the phone.  In my world, if an email is more than five long sentences or longer than the preview pane, I pick up the phone and call the recipient.  It seems we have gotten too far away from this practice.  Sure, sending an email as a follow up to readdress points made during your initial visit is always good, but be sure this is what the recipient wants.  Some people like email and they’ll respond quicker that way.  Some like to have an initial phone conversation.  Others, they like to have a lunch or coffee, something where they can lay eyes on you.  My point is this, you cannot affor to be general when you are trying to attract or retain anything.  The same goes for your employees.  There is a time for email follow up, but don’t abbreviate it or take the easy way out.  You might just find yourself sending a subliminal message by saying …. Well, hopefully you get the point.

Want to know the other two points?  Be sure to join us for the next two topics.

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help organizations incorporate best practices into their business to help them succeed. In his free time, he also writes a lot on his other blog, Christian Men, Christian Warrior.

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