Close the Loop
Avoid Damaging Your Brand with Unanswered Questions
“We’ll see,” that’s the response I used to get all the time from a friend of mine. It didn’t matter the question, whether it was for dinner or help with a project. Then I stopped asking. After a while I felt he didn’t value my time, our relationship, or me.
All relationships, whether personal or professional, are built on commitments. Without this accountability, people do not know what to expect or how to relate to you. This is especially true when maintaining your personal brand. How do you connect to your audience, sustain their trust, and remain accountable to them?
Vagueness does more damage to your personal brand than anything else.
Closing the loop to an offer, request, or proposal not only builds and maintains strong relationships; it makes them thrive.
This one single act is a brand building block that will set you apart from the rest.
When someone asks you a question and you avoid answering, you are putting
your relationship in limbo…without feedback things can easily spin out of control.
You’re replacing the opportunity for dialogue with a passive aggressive response
You’re not worth my attention.
I am noncommittal; so don’t count on me to be forthcoming.
Your offer is okay, but I am waiting to see if I get a better one.
I have way too much ego to ask for clarification.
I don’t respect you enough to say “no,” so I’ll just ignore you.
Are these the kinds of things you really want to communicate about you and your brand? Doing so sets you up for resentment and reputation damage.
And seriously, how difficult is it to answer a question? They come in three simple forms: an offer, a request, or a proposal.
An offer is when someone has something that he or she wants to provide or give you.
A request is when the other person is asking you to fulfill a possibility.
A proposal is a combination of an offer and a request for mutual benefit. The benefit may be as simple as being paid for services or more involved such as a partnership.
Closing the loop on an offer, request or proposal builds trust. There a three easy ways to do this: yes, no, or renegotiate. Even a “no” is a relationship building block because it adds clarity to what you want or expect from the other person. If that other person really wants to work with you, then he or she might even follow up with more questions that will lead to a better offer next time. Have the conviction to say “yes”, “no” or “let’s talk about it.” Commit to an answer.
In the end, you are in charge of how others perceive you. Do something when the spotlight is on you – even if you are unsure of the outcome. Follow up, check in, close the deal, take some sort of action. Unanswered questions ruin reputations, instead close the loop and amplify your personal brand as someone who is reliable, decisive, and trustworthy.