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The lost art of the Follow Up

The lost art of follow up.

You have heard about this, or perhaps, maybe you haven’t? See if some of these resonate with you.

“I’ll call you this afternoon”

“I’ll get back to you tomorrow”

“I’ll send you information this week”

“We will let you know next week”

“Looking forward to connecting soon”

But you got blanked. Not a text, not an e-mail, or a phone call. How did that make you feel? What do you think about the person who made the promise? Do you trust them? Would you trust them again?

I have categorized these ghosts into three types of people.

The Forgetful – These are people that just plain forgot.  This happens. They truly meant to follow up with you and complete the promise they made to you.  

Follow up is central to building trust. If you think a person, leader, or organization is not capable of following up with what they promised they would do, you cannot trust them. Therefore, even when a person has a good heart or good intentions and we like them personally, they cannot win our trust if they’re not capable of doing what they promise.

The Faker – This person said the right thing, and you believed it. But don’t worry – everyone else believed them too. They tell you what they want you to hear, and believe that they will follow up with you – but it never happens and not within the time frame that was promised.  These are the people that you normally will give the benefit of the doubt, but after the third or fourth missed deadline, you really know – it’s not me, it’s them.  

The Fraud – This person does not care about you. They have little respect for most people.  Their relationships are shallow, and they often avoid eye contact. The foundation of trust is strong integrity. It is seeing someone live out and execute the things they say they will do, over and over and over again. A person without integrity is a person that can not be counted on because once they tell you they’re going to do something, they do not follow through. Every word counts, and you can not believe a word they say.

We as strong business people need to become more aware of discrepancies between our words and actions. This type of self-awareness enables business partners to develop increased trust in each other. To enhance this mutual trust, business partners also need to learn how to communicate the specifics of their follow up more directly.  If we are not able to follow up on the promise we made, let that person know why.  You can save face and gain credibility with sincerity and honesty.  Oh – and you STILL need to follow up! 

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