Three words that will improve you business.


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Can you name three key words that will improve your business?

No, not Search Engine Optimization

Not Customer Retention Management either.

Definitely not Inbound Marketing. (OK, that’s two words.)

Nope. None of the above. So, what are they?

“I’ll follow up.”

Here’s why.

Those three words are really about responsibility, and how you follow up no matter what your customer’s preferred method of communication may be.

Take email for example.

I read a 2014 report by the Radicati Group that stated, “…on average, business users receive and send 121 emails every day.” Now, I’ve never actually tracked how many emails I send and receive, but that sounds about right.

Anyway, many of the emails (and voice mails) I’ve received over the years frequently ended with a call-to-action. But, the call-to-action almost always put the responsibility on me. It comes in many forms like, “Call me with any questions”, or “Please let me know if…”, or “You can get back to me at…”

And, I’m not unique in that regard. You’ve probably received emails, texts, and voice mails like that as well.

One “call me” sticks in my mind. (There are several, but this one in particular, always gets to me.)

I worked in the advertising business for several years and remember a time when a client had made a request for a revised media budget. The media director put together some recommendations, revised the budget and then sent the client a brief email with the budget attached and ended it by saying, “Call me if you have any questions.”

This was for a revised budget of about $5 million. First of all, to my way of thinking, this warranted a face-to-face meeting, especially as the client was only a few miles away. Even if that was impractical, a virtual meeting could have been conducted to explain the rationale behind the recommendations. To quantify the reach and frequency benefits of the plan, and to reinforce the agency’s value as a strategic partner. At the very least, it should have been a phone call. But, to just send it as an attachment and then put the responsibility on the client to follow up was, and is, self-defeating.

Why do I feel that way?

In one way or another, we are all in the service business. Clients indirectly pay our mortgages, enable us to send our kids to good schools and help us to make car payments. So, whether I’m responding to a request, making a recommendation or addressing a complaint, I’ve always viewed it as my responsibility to reach out to the client, or prospect to follow up. Not the other way around.

The way I see it, as long as you’re sensitive to the client’s preferred method of communication, ending an email, text or voice mail with “I’ll follow up” does three things:

1. It sets you apart from everyone else who says, “Call me” or “Get back to me.”
2. It lets the client or prospect know that you are responsible; which can lead to,
3. Trust and additional business development opportunities.

I certainly understand how time consuming emails, texts, tweets, voice mails and meetings can be, and taking the time to follow up can add to daily stress. But, I’ve always found the tradeoff was well worth it.

Please “call me” if you have any questions. Just kidding.

Bob Musial
Bob Musial is a business development coach, author of "Soft Skills. Hard Returns." and humorist who works with professionals to help improve their competency in getting, keeping and expanding business. He's easy to reach. Pretty easy to talk with too.


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