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The Value of Defining Clear Next Steps

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you’re not getting the response you want when you reach out to people? Perhaps you send someone an email or text asking for their help or input on something and you end the message with something along the lines of “Get back to me when you can!” And then you hear crickets. Part of the issue is that no clear next steps were defined! And on the flip side, how many times have you received a message with a vague sign off like that and think to yourself “Ok, they don’t need this immediately, so I’ll respond later.” And then “later” inadvertently becomes “never” as it slips your mind!

Here’s another example. You finally secure a meeting with that potential client you’ve been chasing forever and they agree to accept a proposal. Ecstatic and hopeful, you sent the proposal over (with no real deadline of when to get back to you). After a few days with no response, you send a follow-up email. Another week passes, so you leave a voicemail. After a few more days, you call early in the morning or late Friday afternoon hoping to catch them. Finally, you send another email hoping this will be the message that elicits some kind of response. Yet you still get no reply, nothing in return. You become frustrated because this has now become a difficult person to get in touch with.

Both scenarios above could have been avoided had one simple step been added to the process. When you're finishing a call, meeting, or appointment (whether professionally or personally) it is vital to establish clear next steps to define who's doing what and when. Doing this makes our lives easier by setting those specific boundaries.

Consider this. You’re ending the meeting with the above potential client you’ve been eagerly pursuing. Instead of simply sending over the proposal and calling it a day, you use the following example to establish clear next steps to prevent the prospect from “ghosting” you. "I’m happy to send over the proposal, I’ll have it to you by 3 PM tomorrow. When do you think you’ll have a chance to review it? While we’re here and you've got your calendar available, let’s go ahead and schedule a follow-up call/appointment/meeting so that we can discuss the estimate. I can answer any questions and we can discuss where we should go from here."

By setting those clear next steps, there is no guesswork on “who’s turn it is” or who should be doing what and when. This will help keep the sales process (or party planning or mastermind meeting scheduling) smoothly flowing with no ambiguity, frustration, or questions.


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