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One of the most important tools in your shed: The Follow Up

How do some people get things done while others don’t?  Don’t we all have the same 24 hours in a day?  What separates the successful from the rest of the pack?  How do you get people to respond?

I’ve come to realize that though the answer is pretty simple, most don’t do “it.”  You control it, it doesn’t cost anything, it doesn’t take much time or effort.  What is “it?”  It’s: the follow up.

No that is not a typo.  It is the FOLLOW UP!  Following up with the person, team, department, group or company that you wish to receive an answer, get a response from, develop a relationship with, win business is key to success.  Very often, our daily responsibilities require receiving information from another party.  We cannot complete our task until that information is received.  We are often dependent on others to perform a task.  We send an initial request and then either forget to, or don’t bother to, follow up with the person whom you requested information from.  Thus, your task or responsibility does not get completed.

We have all heard stories of persistence paying off.  The business owner who grants the interview to the kid who contacted him every other day for a year.  The sales person who followed up months or years after initially not winning the business.  The relationship that was developed after initial non-responses (just ask my wife 😊).

More often than not, the person you are waiting for became sidetracked with other priorities and just needed a gentle reminder.  “Hello, just following up with you on……” or perhaps “Hello, I recognize this is likely a busy time of the month for you, is there a particular time I could reach out to you to move this forward?”  That’s usually all that it takes.   Other times the request can be deeper and requires additional reminders and inquiries.  Let’s call that nudging.  But in the end, you get your response and you complete your task.

In business, a follow up every 2-3 days is sufficient.  I get it!  You don’t want to be a pest!  So let the situation dictate the frequency and need for the follow up.  Also, in this age of texts and emails, let’s not forget the power of the phone call!!  (This may be its own blog post later!)

If you observe the successful, they are not afraid to follow up but most importantly, they don’t forget to or leave it be.  Figure out the method that works for you to keep open items at the top of your list.  For some it is a calendar alert or a to do list or perhaps an email in your inbox that stays there until the item is brought to fruition.  This simple task takes rather little time, effort or cost but can be the difference between your success and other’s failures.

Jim Okamura, President FSTC

The posts expressed are views of FSTC and are not intended as advice or recommendations. For informational purposes only.

Jim Okamura
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