I've been working from home as a marketing writer since 2002.
Over the years, I've hired many dozens of vendors and contractors:
And I am consistently dumbfounded by people's inability to do one simple yet crucial thing, even if asked.
It's closing loops.
Not Fruit Loops®, the brand.
Closing Loops, the action.
What does closing loops mean?
I thought everyone knew what closing loops meant, until I posted a project on Upwork and asked in the interview questions, "What does closing loops mean to you?"
I decided to ask this question because vendors NOT closing loops drives me crazy. It kills my trust, and makes me want out of the relationship ASAP, and if it continues, abruptly.
Before I tell you what closing loops means to me, let me share a few of the wrong answers I received -- wrong answers only because they weren't what I expected, not because the person responding was wrong.
What follows is a representative sampling.
Now, while those sentiments are all fine and dandy, they are not the sentiments I'm looking for when I say I want people to close loops.
To me, closing loops means to always follow through ... to never, ever, leave a client, vendor, or co-worker hanging.
It means never making the other person wonder why they haven't heard from you or what you're up to.
It means always circling back, no matter what.
Here are a few examples.
Closing loops is a way to foster a high level of trust in your clients because they know you'll deliver when you say you will -- or you let them know before their deadline approaches.
Your clients will know they can count on you.
Otherwise ... it's a little bit like the tongue twister "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" **
If you tell a vendor to close loops and they say they'll close loops but leave the loops open anyway, then when will the loops get closed if the loops gets closed at all?
What boggles my mind the most is not necessarily that so many people do not close loops; it's that even when I spell out what closing loops means to a vendor who's just failed to close a loop, they still don't get it.
They might send me a smiley emoticon, or say okay, or sorry, and then turn around and do it again, and again, and again! Maybe it's a faulty cultural expectation on my part ... I don't know.
To combat this issue, I'm creating a Partnership Pledge, which both I and prospective vendors must sign before working together. The pledge will spell out what both sides expects in advance so, I hope, there will be
no less misunderstandings and more win-win partnerships.
Speaking of win-win partnerships, would you like to join my tribe, if you haven't already?
Do you sweat the small stuff? Do you want your online presence to inspire trust and confidence? Do you grit your teeth when others don't care enough about YOUR web experience? Are you all about creating an excellent website and excellent content that makes it easy for people to get to know, like, and trust you and buy your stuff?
I think we might be soul mates. And I'd love for you to join my tribe.
When you do, I'll alert you to new blog posts, new programs and products, and new ways for you to create excellent, frictionless, online experiences that lead more people to YES! I promise to be relevant and real, and to send only thoughtful content and advice.
**A wood chuck would chuck all the wood he could chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood. Ha ha! Seriously though, you can get a real answer to the question "How much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?" over at the Futurist. God I love the Internet!