Have you experienced this situation? You had a great conversation with your buyer (or team member) and left the meeting or ended the call thinking or believing that what happens next is clear.
Then the following occurred:
- Nothing. The information or action you expected from the buyer didn’t happen.
- Reality. You delivered what you believed you committed to but they wanted or expected something different.
This gap in expectations versus reality happens too often! It creates:
- Extra work
- Calls to your manager
- Loss of future business
- Losses of time, money, and reputation
How do we minimize these gaps of expectations? The answer isn’t technology based or rocket science theory…it’s simple:
Clarify expectations verbally and follow-up in writing!
Do not end your conversation until you have clarified, and received agreement, on:
- Maybe even How
Then send a follow-up note to document and confirm once again.
It’s easy to skip this because of time pressures, lack of focus, assumptions, and many other barriers. I nearly ended a telephone conversation this week with ‘loose’ follow-ups. Knowing I was writing this message reminded me to stop and ask for clarity. I’m so glad I did! The timing of the buyer was different than my assumption. In this case I had two more weeks to deliver something than I thought I did!
That’s a great payoff for the three minutes it took to confirm expectations. Simple isn’t it? Great outcomes begin with clarifying real expectations.