TOFU stands for Taking Ownership and Following Up and comes from the Cohen Brown management consultants. Saying you’re going to follow up (with a customer – internal or external to your company) and not doing so disrespects your customer. Yet it is unbelievably common.
TOFU is about saying “I have the ball now and I will get the job done by (suggest a time within the next twenty-four hours). If not, I will pass it to my colleague and I’ll personally follow up with them to ensure the job has been done.”
As an account manager, you have little control over the product or to whom you can sell. But what you do have control over is whether you do what you say you are going to do.
The poster child for this is my friend, Stef. Having Stef on our account team (leading this TOFU culture) when I was account managing a major Australian bank, meant that not only did we score number one on the bank’s strategic partner list out of twenty-three strategic partners, but we retained this multimillion-dollar account for another five years. The Bank told us that one of the reasons they re-signed the contract with us (during a hostile takeover bid for our business by our main competitor with a cheaper price) was our embracing of TOFU and the reliability and risk reduction it provided the Bank.
• Implement TOFU today and watch your credibility and trust factors soar (inside and outside your organisation).