I sincerely believe that the simple art of following-up can determine your future success in any field or career. Following-up can also play a large role in developing high self esteem and determine your overall happiness in life. If that sounds like an overstatement, then listen on.
There are diamonds hidden in the details of life. Here are a couple real life examples to ponder. A few years ago, a real estate agent named Steve showed a couple of investment homes to my wife and I one Saturday afternoon. He seemed like a nice person and bragged how much he attends to details and how he was going to give us great service. As we parted ways on Saturday, I told him we would be checking the internet for more properties and HE should call us on Sunday at 12:00pm sharp. We would meet soon after to take a look at what we found. He said no problem and promised to call us at Noon Sunday. Prior to his scheduled call, we proceeded to find a duplex on our own, that we wanted to purchase. Steve never called at Noon as promised. I called Steve at 12:15pm. He did not answer his phone. I called Steve at 12:30pm. He did not answer his phone again. I left a voice message giving him until 1:00pm to respond. Steve never responded. I called the listing agent of the property we were interested in, in order to see the property. We liked it and immediately put an offer on the duplex. We ended up going to settlement a few weeks later. Steve finally called back on Monday and I explained what happened. He made up a bunch of excuses as to why he didnít call us back on Sunday, and was upset that he lost out on the sale of two properties. A simple follow-up would have made Steve thousands of dollars in EASY income.
Another example fresh in my mind, is a phone call I initiated to an automobile salesman that sold me a new vehicle a couple of years ago. His name was Charles. When I called, I was told that he was busy with another client and was put through to his voice mail. My message was clear that I did my research and was interested in purchasing an exact vehicle from him, right down to the color. A day went by and Charles did not follow-up. I tried again the next day and was told he was coming in later. I left another voice mail. I clearly stated on the voice mail again, that I wanted to buy a vehicle from him. Again I did not get a callback. I bought the vehicle at another dealership. I sent Charles an e-mail afterwards, stating what had happened. He said he never received my two messages and blamed his lousy voice mail system. Who knows what happened? No follow-up Ė no sale.
In my own short lifetime, between my business and personal purchases, I have awarded a great deal of business to those who follow-up. My whole life insurance agent from 32 years ago is still reaping the benefits of annual commissions from his follow-up that took place over three decades ago. I havenít even communicated with him for over 20 years. However, very few people have ever received a second chance to earn my business back, once they are negligent or fail to follow-up.
As a business owner, I was very involved with developing critical relationships and closing critical sales, when a team member of my outside sales force couldnít do so. I always enjoyed the science of selling. If I was unable to close a sale immediately, I utilized the power of follow-up to do so at a later date. Like an ant, I NEVER gave up as long as I felt I had a highly qualified client who could definitely use my products or service. If a client needed more time to make a decision, I found out exactly how much time they needed. Do you need one week, one month; five months; nine months - no problem? I would schedule a follow-up call-back nine months later to the day and exact time. Say July 17th at 3:17pm? I could sense the client smiling on the other end of the phone call when I said 3:17pm! After hanging up, I set an alarm in my Personal Information Manager for a few days before that critical follow-up and then reset those times right up to the follow-up time. Then nine months later on July 17th at 3:17pm, guess whose phone rang? And around 90% of the time Ė guess who closed the critical sale? Following up in this fashion, turns your clients into mush. They canít help but WANT to buy from you.
As I stated previously, there are diamonds in the details. You donít need an MBA degree to follow-up and pay attention to the details in your life and your business. You just need to develop the will and the discipline to not let yourself and others down. By doing so, you will develop habits and skills that will reap huge rewards, that are just out there waiting for you. Your self-esteem will continue to grow because you are doing something really positive and others will notice this quickly. They will treat you differently and doors open up that were previously closed. Following-up is a win-win strategy throughout your lifetime. And if you have trouble doing so, with resolve and determination you can change. Donít be like Steve and Charles who let opportunities slip away daily. Take control of your own destiny and FOLLOW-UP!