Follow-up Is Leadership

spinning plates

I appreciate great follow-up from a pro. It tells me that someone is thinking about and prioritizing something that they believe is important not only to themselves but also to me. It takes a load of thinking off my already crowded and busy mind.

We are all in the same boat. Noone is special because they have a lot on their plate. Everyone is overwhelmed and having to manage immense amounts of work making decisions and getting things done.

It may be hard to hear a proposition the first time or second time. And the timing may be slightly off in our minds without clarity around a problem.

When you follow-up you are providing a valuable service if done well. You are showing leadership and helping a busy person think about their problem or an opportunity within a framework that they can hear you.

This is why it is so important that you anticipate and do effective follow-up. Here are a few points to make part of your daily leading:

  1. Get organized. You have to organizeĀ things so you can execute. If you are fumbling around trying to figure out who to touch you are always going to be grinding it out and will fizzle. You have made follow-up difficult for yourself and it will kill your enthusiasm.
  2. Be precise about the problem. Our minds hate open loops. When you are able to be articulate, pointed and connected, you are communicating. Step back and think about the problem your prospect may or may not be able to articulate. Push on it. You may have to think about it deeply. It’s worth it. Otherwise you are wasting your time and theirs.
  3. Be human. If you send mass communications or use templated approaches, it communicates far less than a highly personal note that matters. If you are human and connect in a relational way, this creates higher trust and increases your response rates. I am much more compelled to answer a question directed specifically to me than some boilerplate communication.
  4. Give. You have to give value far before you get value. And value is different for everyone. You have to ask, “What is valuable to this person?” Think hard about it. It’s personal.

Ultimately, in a busy world, it’s a relief if someone is leading well and helping us think. We already have a lot to think about and if you are doing the heavy lifting of presenting things that matter and leading someone down a thought process, decision or action, then your follow-up will be a cornerstone that differentiates you in this noisy world.

How can you be more effective?

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