This may be a ludicrous parallel to draw, but I think it will make a point. I recently saw the movie “Hacksaw Ridge”. It’s a nearly unbelievable story about an American soldier in WWII who singlehandedly, saved 75 men in one battle without carrying a weapon. During the night, he sneaked around the battlefield, riddled with injured men, and one by one, lowered them down a cliff using a rope. After he lowered one down he would ask, “please, help me get one more”.
“One more”. That’s it. Just do it one more time, whatever it is you are trying to accomplish. Follow up on it one more time. To switch gears from one of the bloodiest battles of WWII, to our businesses, the “One more” mindset can have a subtle yet powerful change to the way you earn business and retain clients.
I had an employee that was trying to collect some paperwork from a client. She sent an email, added the attached document, and waited for its return. It never came and there was a big mess that needed to be cleaned up. The issue was, she sent the one email and walked away.
When it comes to retaining clients, I am ruthless about follow up because I have to be. People are busy. People are forgetful. I want open-ended tasks to be closed as soon as possible and expecting people to be 100% responsive to our requests is a fool’s errand. My industry, like many, requires papers to be signed, or edocs to be esigned. These need to be done by a certain date or the task we are trying to complete implodes and we put twice as much work into a simple task.
My office tries to be as transparent as possible, regardless of the severity of the request. “If we don’t collect your balance due of $3,323 by Tuesday your policy will cancel”. This request may be made two weeks before the due date and the lowest level of customer service is to make this request once and walk away.
Follow up correspondence needs to happen. If the payment isn’t received in a week, send “one more” email. If it isn’t received in the following three days, send “one more” email or place a call or text. The problem is your team member may try to cover themselves by saying that they sent the email and the customer never paid. They may think they did their job. Their job is to collect the money to make sure they remain a client, not just send out a bill.
This method works everywhere. My book of business would be 25% smaller than it is If I didn’t deploy the “one more” method when I am chasing new business. If I have someone who asks for a quote and I provide that quote to them, it is my job to have the sales conversation. It’s easy to say that I sent the proposal over and never heard back. I have to send “one more” email, or “one more” phone call until the conversation happens. You have to embrace the chase.
These are small incremental changes. The change isn’t really adding any more work or any more time to your schedule. It’s one extra email, one extra phone call, one extra text to a prospective client or current customer and it means all the difference. What I have found, is that once I do connect with the person I am chasing, they are grateful for my efforts. I have even told people on the phone that I am sorry for all of the attempted efforts. I tell them that I feel like I am hassling them. In return, they bend over backwards to assure me that isn’t the case. They thank me for my persistence.
The “One more” method will do nothing but strengthen your sales number, and solidify your relationships with your current clients.