Common courtesy, that’s all, common courtesy. Where have manners gone? The business world is no different from the social world – asking for information and a response. A mere business RSVP is a tool that’s vital for several reasons:
- It’s a definitive for me.
- I won’t bother you if I know you don’t want to take my calls, to work with me, to benefit from my services.
- It takes you – the responder – off the hook, if need be.
- You “invited” me into your world and I followed-up.
- I “get” it.
The more I talk to sales reps – products and services alike – and other professionals who sell their services, the more I hear of people who get ignored when they follow-up. Why? Are you – the prospect – that busy that a two-minute phone call is out of the question? A call to say, “thanks, but no thanks,” or “thanks, but not right now…call me in three months,” takes too long? Maybe you are so busy that a thirty-second e-mail saying the same thing takes up too much of your time.
Why do some business people ask for your business, “invite” you into their office and then ignore you when you follow-up? I don’t get it. I don’t understand why you refuse to acknowledge my call or e-mail. I can take “no thank you,” can’t you? What I can’t take is the frustration of repeated voice mails, unanswered e-mails, or the “I’ll get that to you tomorrow,” and yet nothing comes “tomorrow.” This is time consuming for me.
I don’t want to badger you. I just want to let you know that I followe-up on your request. If it’s a bad time, then please let me know. Yes, we’re all so incredibly busy, but I bet you can take time to send an e-mail to your friends, to your prospects, and to your co-workers, as I do. But wait, that extra few seconds to RSVP to my phone call or e-mail takes too much time out of your busy day?
Yes, I’m guilty of not returning cold calls all the time. I have called some back to say, “no thanks.” I didn’t return the call from my dentist telling me I’m overdue for a cleaning, and I need to get my gums downtown. I will though; It’s just figuring out when to call and schedule the cleaning.
Terry’s built up a relationship with Fran over the last six-nine months. Fran’s business is interested in Terry’s financial services and asked him to send her a proposal. Terry does so, with vigor. Writing a proposal – though partially a template – is time consuming. It also takes some tailoring Fran’s specific line of work and her company’s needs. The proposal – one-ten pages – equals pride, equals professionalism, and equals care from Terry and his firm, and for Fran and her business needs. Terry sends the proposal and tells Fran he’ll call her in ten days, if that works. (Ten days seems a healthy amount of time to review a proposal, have a meeting with others who will invest in the proposal, and some decision to be made.)
Ten days go by, Terry calls Fran and gets her voice mail. “Hi Fran, it’s Terry. I want to know if you received the proposal and to get your thoughts. Please call me back, today, if possible, or tomorrow I’m in the office all morning, at 303-555-TIME. Thanks.”
Five days pass, no returned call. Terry sends an e-mail. “Fran, I hope you’ve had the opportunity to read my proposal, check the numbers, and see the benefits and value of hiring our firm to help you. Please let me know when it’s convenient for you to sit down and discuss ‘next steps.’ Thanks, Terry”
There’s no response. There’s no signed agreement. There’s nothing.
Does this non-response happen to you, or is it only a few of us in this economy? Let me know how you react to associates, clients, prospects who don’t RSVP to your voice mails or e-mails, even after you have been invited to give them information.
Put RSVP into your business files:
- R – Respect
- S – Sincerity
- V – Value for relationships
- P – Personal commitment
Thanks. I’ll talk to you later, or at least wait for your e-mail; it’s just common courtesy.