You know when you think, “Oh, I meant to message that person for…” (whatever it was), and you don’t, and then later on that day they message you to ask about the thing?
You think (or say) “Ahhh, I was literally just thinking of you today and meant to get in touch!” And sort of kick yourself for not taking action when you thought of it, especially if it’s a new prospect or a proposal or quote you promised to send, and you realise you lost a little of the opportunity.
It doesn’t necessarily mean you lose the business, but it does delay the process (and prevents you from getting the sale or cash as quickly). If it’s a potential buyer, it can introduce a little doubt in their mind, as to whether and when you will follow through on your word.
It also applies to other things. Friendships, showing you care for someone in a tough time, an “I hope that person is ok” feeling, sending a card or gift, checking in with a team member, a business opportunity which you forgot about for a while.
The little voice will remind you.
What you do with it is up to you.
A few years ago I mentioned this to the PF team, particularly in relation to sales. I mentioned I use the “little voice” as a reminder to drop the person a note – not even to ask if they want to go ahead, but simply to check in. Send an article about a topic they mentioned. Send a catch up video. Share a post or an idea or just ask how they are going. And I told them when I do that, so many times the person has replied back (it could be after weeks or months or even years) and said “I was just thinking of you today!”.
Sometimes it revives the conversation or relationship, and you get to help them or make the sale or connect them with someone or something they need. Sometimes nothing much happens – they don’t reply, or they say thanks hope you are well too, and that’s the end of it. But more often than not they appreciate the connection, because we appreciate being thought of. Being remembered.
The team have implemented this too, and one team member mentioned the other day she is amazed how often the little voice has helped spur on a conversation, a sale, or an opportunity which might have otherwise been missed. Sometimes it just helps us to know where someone is at (struggling or sad or motivated or exhausted or excited).
Listening to the little voice is also a good opportunity to give someone permission to discuss something which didn’t seem like a big deal. Something small which was missed, or a different way of communicating, or a little thing they’re trying to be understanding about. Something they liked, or didn’t like, love or didn’t love. Maybe they didn’t even know why. They either thought about it and then figured “no, it’s not enough to bring up as a thing”, or they didn’t really think it through until you mention it. Regardless, it shows you care and are paying attention, and it helps them feel more comfortable not only working out what it was that troubled them, or the question they had, but also being able to bring other things up in future.
This is also why at PF we end every call with “is there anything else you wanted to ask us while you have us here?” or “anything else you wanted to mention you didn’t get a chance to?” or “is there anything on your mind right now?” Almost without exception the person says “No, not really…except this one thing…” and they get a chance to cover off that little thing which didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but would have been forgotten otherwise. It removes any pressure and helps them not feel badly for bringing it up, but helps us both (as we get to serve them better and they have a better experience). If there’s no time for it in the remaining minutes of the meeting, we’re aware of it for the next meeting. If it’s significant or urgent enough, we may arrange another meet.
The “little voice” is sort of a gut feeling. Whilst your gut is usually right, it’s always worth investigating. Where does that gut feeling come from? What was said, or not said? What tone of voice or body language change gave you that feeling? Where does your gut feeling come from? Otherwise you think “yea my gut told me that” and feel really proud of yourself and move on; but you haven’t learned from it and it’s not scalable, either. When you realise every time a client says this, or a prospect takes (or doesn’t take) a certain action, you can build that into your systems and catch it every time, instead of just the one time. It’s also possible your gut is telling you something based on a fear you have, or a previous bad situation, or you’re confusing client situations, and in this case your gut was leading you astray a bit.
You can (and it’s good to) automate many things in your prequalifying, prospecting, and proposal processes. You can prepare emails to go out at certain times, or reminders to you and the team. Those are all helpful and often do the follow up for you when you forget.
But the little voice is your helper. Your reminder.
Listening to it (and taking an action which takes seconds or moments) can save you – and the person you’re connecting with – hours or days or even months of time. It helps build trust and shows them you cared enough to take action, rather than saying “oh yes I’ll do that later”.
So that’s my note for today: Listen to the little voice. See what happens.
And let me know how it goes!