How’s Your Follow-Through?

By Carolyn Edlund

I’ve had some recent experiences that illustrate just how stark the contrast is between businesspeople who follow through and those who do not.


During the past few months, I’ve had the occasion to employ tradesmen to help repair a relative’s home and put it on the market.  The results of my experience were not surprising:You work hard to find opportunities. Are you making the most of them once they come your way?

  • The house painter who returned phone calls promptly (every time), and had an estimate waiting in my inbox when I got home, got the job. The one who took two weeks to follow up got left behind.
  • The plumber who showed up on time, came back (for free!) to deal with a problem and charged fair prices will get my future business. I don’t even remember the name of the plumber who never called back.
  • The heating & air conditioning repairman who gave a vague estimate with a $1,000.00 range and never submitted anything in writing, is now history. His competitor, who emailed and snail-mailed a written estimate including several possible scenarios, got hired. They are more expensive, but worth it.
  • The impeccably-dressed realtor who bent over backwards to make sure everything went smoothly, returned every call promptly, volunteered to meet installers at the house, and made fantastic suggestions on how to increase the value of the property with inexpensive adjustments, has my eternal gratitude and every referral I can send to him.

What does this have to do with you? Do an honest self-evaluation. How many times have you said you would call and failed to do so? Are you  dependable to be on time, deliver as promised and give a totally professional experience to your customers? How do you deal with situations when things don’t go as planned, and you need to “fix” them?

You have many competitors out there who would love to have the same clients you want. A lot of them don’t have their act together, which gives you a huge opportunity to shine. When you raise your professionalism to a higher level, give impressive service, follow up and go above and beyond expectations, it will be noticed.

When you fail to live up to expectations, however, that gets noticed too. Bad news travels further than good, so you need to maintain high standards to keep your good reputation and get those valuable business referrals – not only from clients, but from your peers as well. That impeccably-dressed realtor was a personal referral from another realtor who respected him and was happy to give his name. Now both of them have earned my admiration and I won’t forget their service.

How’s your follow-through? Are your customers so happy that they can’t wait to refer you? The good news is that it’s never too late to step up and start providing an excellent experience for your clients and contacts – and reap the benefits!

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  1. Wow, Carolyn! This post of yours couldn’t have come at a better time. Fire lit – time to get going with those followups!!

  2. Get to work, Samantha! And best of luck!

    See more about Samantha Levin, artist’s agent, here


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