4 Fantastic Ways to Improve Your Follow Up
Follow-up is essential to your success! Follow through – that’s absolutely necessary too if you want to get results.
Perhaps you’ve experienced one or more of the following:
- Setting expectations, but then not following up.
- Attempting to build a business but failing to follow through with the necessary prospecting.
- Following up inconsistently is undermining your ability to make sales.
- Having to solve problems because of the lack of follow up with your team or volunteers.
- Details falling through the cracks.
- Deadlines going unmet.
- Starting out with gusto, but fizzling before you finish?
- Great meetings in the moment, but what needs to happen afterwards doesn’t.
Mastering effective follow up is the key to succeeding in all of these areas and more!
The Garden Analogy
Having a flourishing garden that yields an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetable is something I get excited about. The fresh from the garden food just tastes better! Plus, I know that it hasn’t been treated with chemicals.
Years ago, our family planted a small garden in our backyard as a school project. We labored together breaking up the hard Georgia clay and added nutrients to the soil. If you haven’t had to deal with red clay, you might not appreciate the amount of work that required.
We constructed a fence around the garden to protect it from the deer and hungry bunnies in our yard. When everything was just so, we carefully planted tomatoes, jalapenos, peppers, and other vegetables. And of course, we immediately watered the garden well.
With great anticipation, we looked forward to a bountiful harvest. There was just one problem: because of where we placed the garden, it was difficult to get water to it. Because it was inconvenient, watering never happened as consistently or as often as it needed.
As a result, the yield for all our efforts: 1 tomato!
I confess, that diminished the time and effort I was willing to invest in future gardening efforts even if the homegrown stuff tastes better!
A few years later, I attempted another garden after we moved to a new house that had a sprinkler system that automatically watered the garden for me – a big perk! With the help of the automatic sprinkler and a husband willing to build a fence to ward off most of our deer and bunny friends, we enjoyed success in our little garden.
The yield: Many, many tomatoes and jalapenos that were enjoyed in salsa, guacamole, salads, etc.
You really do reap what you sow! And it’s not enough to just sow – it’s what you do afterwards that matters too!
Watering your garden after planting the seeds – that’s a visual picture of follow up! The more consistently you water, the better your results.
So, what will enable you to improve your follow-up?
1. See the Value
You won’t do what you don’t think is worth doing! You must recognize that follow up and follow through are key to getting results.
Successful leadership, business development, and more hinge on relationship. Overlooking follow up erodes trust, and relationships depend on trust! Following up is a proactive way of enhancing relationships with those you lead or work with.
2. Stop Thinking You are Too Busy!
Follow-up gets neglected when you are chasing the urgent, putting out the next fire.
Have you ever considered that the urgent is created because you aren’t following up?
Here’s the reality: because you have a full plate, you MUST establish a habit of following-up!
Prioritize; make follow-up your first task of the day! Pause long enough to put a system in place the minute you realize it’s needed. Soon you’ll discover just how much time your lack of follow has been costing you!
3. Create Systems
This skill comes more naturally to some than to others. If coming up with systems and processes is not your strong suit, that’s a fantastic reason to work with a coach who is able to assist you.
You need systems and processes in place to prompt you to follow up at the optimal time. Consider setting up reminders in your phone, putting tasks and reminders on your calendar, using an app, or placing sticky notes on your computer screen – whatever it takes.
If it’s a project with a deadline, establish check-in points to not only keep you on task, but to evaluate the progress as well. This conveys to others that that project matters to you and it gives you the opportunity to affirm or redirect how things are going before it is too late.
After a networking event, touch base with new contacts within 24 hours. Create a plan to periodically reach out consistently later to offer a “gesture of thoughtfulness,” relevant information, congratulations – anything that meaningfully contribute to the relationship.
I volunteered for an organization that I was excited about. I soon discovered that they had little or no follow-up with their volunteers, including scheduling. As a result, they had no idea what my experience was like volunteering, and I had no idea what the scoop was on their end either. In fact, it was difficult to actually volunteer! Even though I was behind the cause, the lack of follow up conveyed that my volunteering was not that important to them. And I’ll bet you aren’t surprised that my volunteering there didn’t last long!
4. Stick to the System!
Follow-up is ongoing! It’s not a one-time event – it’s a way of doing life and work. It persistently keeps on happening!
Sticking to the system ensures that you will accomplish the tasks, stay engaged with your people, and remain connected to opportunities. It will prevent critical things from falling through the cracks.
Following up and following through creates space to remind, reinforce, and refocus. When done with a heart to develop leaders, genuinely meet the needs of others, and deepen relationships, you’ll be surprised at the harvest!
Is a lack of sticking to the system preventing you from getting the results you desire? Consistently following-up is powerful!
There’s no point in working hard and spinning your wheels when it doesn’t produce fruit. All the hard work invested in my first garden that yielded one measly tomato was a poor use of my time. If you’re going to go to all the trouble to plant seeds it is worth making sure you have a system in place to water, right?
Where have you been working hard but harvesting little? Where do you need to improve your follow up?
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