What’s the Next Step?

“Busy” is the most over-used word in our culture today.  It’s become the default answer for many people about how anything in their life is going.

How are you doing?  Busy.

How is the family?  Busy.

How is work?  Busy.

Because of that, “busy” has lost it’s meaning.  What does busy even mean?

I don’t want to be busy.  I want to be productive.

This may sound strange if you read this blog a lot, because I spend a lot of time talking about “activity.”  The idea in this blog from yesterday, is that you need to focus on the pro-active activities that lead you toward your goals.  If you focus on those, every day, you will make steps toward success.

You might be thinking, “But won’t doing that make you busy?”

I can speak from experience when I say “yes.”  But more importantly it will make you productive.   I was reminded of this when I went on sales calls recently with another seasoned sales pro.  We visited several customers.  We dropped off samples.  We had great conversations.  We talked about new sales offerings.  It was great!    After the group of meetings I asked what we needed to do to follow up with these customers.  After some thoughtful consideration, the answer was “nothing.”

I wasn’t sure why at the time, but that answer made me uneasy.

Then I figured it out.  There was no next step.  There was no call to action.  We had some great conversations and engagements, but there was nothing we had decided to do to move the conversation forward.  If that’s the case, then those calls were just “busy work.”

Action is important.  But action for the sake of action is not the goal.  The idea is to create action that moves to an outcome.   Now don’t get me wrong.  I am not suggesting we had to sell something right then.  I just wanted to know what was next.  It might have been:

*Sending a presentation with ideas.

*Calling to set up another appointment

*Writing an order

*Sending a sample

*Or even sending a note for taking the time time meet.

There needs to be a specific next step.  And here’s the thing, your customers and prospects want that too!  They have just taken time out of their day to engage with you.  They have plenty of other things to do!  So if they have given you the thing they can’t get back (time), what was the point of it?

So the next time you create a list of prospects and customers to call on, make sure to determine what you hope to make happen.  What is the goal?  What is the next step?   Especially if you are going to call on me.   If not, I will probably be “too busy” to see you.

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Written by: Kirby Hasseman

Kirby Hasseman is the CEO of Hasseman Marketing & Communications. Kirby hosts a weekly Web show called Delivering Marketing Joy where he interviews business leaders from around the country. Kirby has published four books. His most recent is “Fan of Happy.” His book, called "Delivering Marketing Joy" is about doing “promo right” and is perfect for people in the industry and customers. He also wrote “Think Big For Small Business” and “Give Your Way to Success. All are available on Amazon.