Throughout my 17 years as The Phone Lady, I’ve preached the value of consistent follow up. We do the work of listening to our clients and creating proposals or quotes in a timely manner. We also need to do the work of learning from their feedback and hearing their answer.
This isn’t easy. The challenge of reaching our clients is real. It’s discouraging to consistently leave and send messages only to be met with silence. But what I know to be true after 36 years of selling is – silence doesn’t mean “no”.
When we cease to follow up because we’re discouraged, we create the “no”. We walk away from opportunity.
Fortunately, there’s a formula that can help us change this behavior.
What is this formula? How can you make use of it?
On May 3, 2016, Angela Duckworth published Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. This isn’t about working 20 hour days and burning out to achieve something. Instead, it lauds the 1808 American English meaning of grit – “pluck, spirit, firmness of mind”.
The entire book is a delight. Angela is a great storyteller. The research she’s done to uncover the connection between talent and effort is fascinating. It applies to anything we might want to achieve. For me, it speaks directly to sales and the power of following up. We all leave “money on the table”. We all walk away from opportunities.
Chapter 3 of the book is entitled “Effort Counts Twice”. While talent is a wonderful thing and often celebrated as an innate gift someone receives at birth, the reality is that talent relates to how our skills improve when we invest effort. And achievement is the result of using our acquired skills.
Talent x effort = skill
Skill x effort = achievement
The success of this formula for each of us is connected to consistency over time. We have the skills to follow up, reveal opportunities, and learn from all of our efforts. The question is, are we using those skills? Are we putting in the necessary effort?
Recently I’ve fallen behind with my own effort. Existing projects have distracted me from consistently using my follow-up skills. Then I read these words of Angela’s:
“Without effort, your talent is nothing more than your utmost potential. Without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn’t.”
I’ve spent the past week refining my follow-up process, making calls and sending emails. The result? Lots of fun and exciting projects ahead this year.
What about you? Are you missing out on opportunities? Should you be refining your follow-up process? Now is the right time to get started.