About 2 weeks ago, I realized I made a huge business development mistake that could have easily been avoided.
Rewind to mid-December: I connected with an ideal prospect via a cold call that told me to reach back out in the new year. Immediately following the call I made an annotation to call them back in the new year so that I remembered.
It’s early January. Jogging through my hitlist, I see the note and excitedly decide to reach back out. I start constructing an email that read “I just wanted to circle back on connecting like we chatted about on Dec 12th”….and then it hit me:
Someone who receives 40 cold calls a day like this person probably has no recollection of our interaction and their commitment to speak with me.
Though she verbally committed, I had no proof. A month later it might as well have not existed.
Why This Matters:
If you can get someone to commit to something (and have proof) they’re much more likely to cooperate. People don’t like going back on their word. Where I came up short was failing to establish proof of the commitment that I could call upon in the future.
How I Should Have Handled This:
Immediately following the call I should have sent an email along these lines:
Great connecting a few minutes ago. Per your request, I will reach out to you in the New Year to talk about X,Y,Z like we spoke about. I look forward to chatting then.
Capturing her commitment digitally would have provided me leverage. After all, I was just complying with her request…I would have reached back out by replying to this email in order to make proof of her commitment as evident as possible (more on that technique here).
Though this example falls within the context of business development, this tactic can be applied to any dialogue. If someone makes a verbal commitment, it’s never a bad idea to create a digital record of it using email. You can leverage this asset to pressure someone to actually follow through on their promises.
How have you taken advantage of the power of commitment in your interactions? Please share in the comments
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