"Our key to transforming anything lies in our ability to reframe it.”
- Marianne Williamson
Imagine you’ve been experiencing a nagging pain in the neck. I’m talking literal, physical discomfort in your neck, not going to the DMV or having to wait three days for shipping because it turns out Amazon doesn’t have everything. So this neck pain has had you buying Tylenol in bulk for months, and then one day you cross paths with an angel who says she can help. Turns out she’s an acupuncturist, not an actual angel, but still. You’re intrigued! You exchange contact information and promise to make an appointment the moment you get home. And then … you get a flat tire. And Mercury goes into retrograde. And the lines at Costco are really long! And your family wants to eat. Every. DAY. Acupuncturist … who? Pass the Tylenol.
Welcome to the follow-up to my previous piece about … following up. In Part I, we covered the importance of following up consistently - and the fact that most of us aren’t doing it. If you’ve done your homework, then you now know why you’re not doing it. And if you’re like most people, your why has a lot to do with wanting to avoid coming off too pushy/overly aggressive/bothersome.
This is actually something of a valid concern. After all, nobody wants to be mistaken for a sleazy used car salesman. Trouble is, the belief that following up with our clients is too pushy isn’t doing us any favors — quite the opposite. It’s keeping us from doing something we know is essential to growing and maintaining our business.
So what can we do? The answer lies in reframing our point of view. Think again about our imaginary neck pain scenario — what if the needle-wielding angel had called you after you met that day? She could have answered any questions you have about her services and helped you get that appointment on the calendar. Sounds a lot more like being caring and helpful than bothersome, doesn’t it? Instead, she’s over there worrying about coming off too aggressive (and missing out on a new customer) while you - well, you can’t look left or right and the majority of your caloric intake is coming from Tylenol. Nobody wins!
Of course this also applies - maybe even more so - to past clients. Again, looking at it from the client’s perspective will help us reframe our idea of how we might be perceived when we choose to follow up regularly. Think about when your veterinarian calls the next day to make sure your puppy is feeling well after getting her first round of shots. Do you find it annoying? Doubtful. More likely, you feel valued and cared for as a person, not just as a paycheck. And who doesn’t want that?? Following up with your clients in this way not only helps to build that strong relationship, but also gives you a chance to make sure their experience with us was a good one (and clear up any misunderstandings if it wasn’t so great). It all adds up to happy clients, and happy clients lead to
repeat business and referrals. Everybody wins!
Ready to reframe your why so you can conquer the follow-up game once and for all? Start here:
1. Question yourself. When you’re reluctant to follow up, think about your why. Ask yourself whether it’s empowering or not — is that belief serving you? Is it serving your client?
2. Flip the script. Put yourself in your client’s shoes. Would you appreciate a call/email/note? Odds are, they will too.
3. Do it anyway. Try making consistent follow-up your default, even if it’s uncomfortable at first. What do you have to lose? Unless someone has made it clear they don’t want to hear from you, your risk of offending them with a friendly follow-up call is pretty low. After a few times, you will have replaced your old habit with a shiny new one that better serves you and your clients.
So what are you waiting for? Go make that call! But keep it brief - you don’t want to be late for your acupuncture appointment.