Do What You Say You Will

Do you get pissed off when someone says “I’ll have that to you in 24 hours” and then you have to go hunt them down for said thing? How about when you book time in your calendar to speak to someone and they don’t show? You call them only to get their voicemail or you show up ready to engage and end up waiting by the phone like a jilted lover, no call coming your way. Does that bug you as much as it bugs me?

The world, if conversations with colleagues and friends these days is any barometer of the world, is awash in wishy washy commitments.

What’s up people?

One of the key characteristics of successful people is to do what you say you will, when you say you will. Why? Because it’s how we build trust and prove ourselves to be reliable. This is how we build a following and a sustainable business.

Then there’s karma. When you tell someone you want to hear from them and they follow up that’s a good thing yes? So why when you see their name on the caller ID don’t you pick up the phone? What kind of message are you are sending the universe? Do you want people to ignore you?

The reverse is also true. In mid-April I attended an event that had 12 sponsors. Three of the women had services I was interested in. As is customary I asked to speak to someone from each of those three companies after the event. I was told someone would call me the following week. 4 weeks have passed and only one of them called. Guess who gets my business? Two things to consider. 1) If they are too busy to send an email to schedule a phone call then I don’t want to be a client. 2) If they can’t follow through on what they said they’d do I especially don’t want to become a client or buy their product. How can I trust that this is a one off rather than the way they do business?

It’s curious to me this. (Yes I realize that’s a poorly constructed sentence but it works for me.) What are we afraid of? What are we avoiding? I’ll bet it’s summed up in one word; sales. People are afraid they will be sold and the people with the goods are afraid to get on the phone and sell. There you have it. Know how I know? I’ve been on both sides of that phone.

In the early years, aka the broke years, there were plenty of times I would express an interest in a working with someone. They would follow up with a phone call and I’d make believe I didn’t have a phone. “What is that strange noise I hear?” Or someone would follow up, they were really great at the hard sell and I’d buy something I shouldn’t have just because I didn’t want to miss the “fast action bonus.” There are lots of lessons from those days but two seem pertinent here. Basically it’s rude not to pick up the phone when someone calls because I asked them to. The other thing I learned in spades is that I can’t be sold unless I want to be. If I am in the market for a service or product and I am fact finding vs. ready to buy I will let that person know that.

Anyone in business is in the business of sales. When we reach out and ask for more information it would be a waste of time for the provider just to call and give us details and not make an offer: if we are a fit for what they are offering. (Offering services or products to people who are not the right person is unethical but that’s a topic for another article.) It’s their job to listen to what we need and want and if it’s right then to offer it.

If you are the service provider who doesn’t follow up why not? Cold calling is one lousy way to spend a day but it will come to that if we ignore the people who said “I want to hear more about you.” If you are not confident in the sales conversation learn it, then practice it on the people who want what you have.

Next time you are tempted to ditch a phone appointment make believe you are the one waiting for the call. Look, we’re human. We change our minds. Don’t let wishy washy represent you. If you change your mind let the other person know. Better yet don’t change your mind. The initial spark that had you reach out or make that offer was born out of your attraction to something. Show up like you said you would and enjoy the interaction. We get what we need when we need it. And sometimes it’s on the other end of the phone.

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