Recently I’ve run into several situations where people were unhappy with the performance of someone else. When I dug into what was going on, in reality it wasn’t that the other person wasn’t performing, it was that the person I was talking to DIDN’T KNOW. In three cases the person actually said, “if I just knew where things stood, I’d feel better”. Â That one seems pretty easy to fix, right?
So for the sake of research (and needing a blog entry), I contacted the people. Â I mentioned that there was a gap in knowledge and could they fill it? Â Here are completely reasonable reasons that this happened:
Person 1 said they weren’t ready to tell because all the pieces weren’t in place. Â They were on schedule according to the plan they laid out at the beginning, so they didn’t think it was necessary to tell them, “things they had already told them”. Â I get it – you put together a plan for that reason. But, your client thinks nothing is happening. That isn’t good. Don’t assume they are following the plan like you are. You can reference it, but keep the updates coming. I have been known to use my subject lines in email to organize those in case they get filed. Â For instance a subject line might be, “Implementation of XXX plan step 3 on track” or “Entering Phase III of Implementation Plan” or whatever. Â Then I make them all the same so when the person goes back to their files, they have the whole project history at their finger tips.
Person 2 said “but I did call her!”. Â When we talked it through, the status report was, “don’t worry – everything is good”. Â While that is often reassuring, these two people didn’t have a relationship prior to this project so this is the time to build trust and solidify future business. Â Regular updates mean the client always knows what’s going on and if they get asked, have the information ready. It also means that if something does go wrong or have problems, you have started that trust bank to be able to handle it.
Person 3 said, “that isn’t part of my process”. Â Wow. Â Really? Â It just so happens I’ve been working with this person on growing their business and what I had found so far was they were great at getting business but not at repeat business. Â I think we just found out why! Â I had interviewed a couple of her previous clients and when asked why they hadn’t come back to her, none of them knew. They just didn’t remember her when the next project came around. Her work had been “fine” or “good” but it was easier to find someone else than remember her. Â So she got a deal, completed it and moved on to the next person. No relationship.
So it is important to build into your process status updates. Â These are great opportunities to solidify relationships, find out what’s changed, add value in helping people stay organized and help build future business. Don’t work in a vacuum – it sucks! (had to – sorry)