How often do you leave a voice mail for someone – prospect, co-worker, friend, client – and don’t hear back? How often do you either ignore or forget to respond to someone’s request, relay a message or make that returned phone call?
Everyone’s busy, overwhelmed, or in the middle of something…it’s the nature of the business world, we all understand that. And yet….
When I call prospects I appreciate their calling back and saying thank you, but no thank you; at least I can move on. If a client’s offered to respond and it’s been 10 days with no word, what do you think? “I didn’t get it.” How do you feel? Somewhat deflated and disappointed. You are in sales no matter your job title and you work for yourself. You may get paid by someone else, and you also work to make yourself better through training, reading, asking questions, marketing, sharing, and networking. You’re making a name for yourself, and that’s one of the first steps in marketing You, Inc. All of these are products of good business, and good business also requires being responsive.
Respond to that request. Respond to that sales call. Respond to that undesirable co-worker. Respond to that e-mail. When you respond you say something about your core values and you; both excellent business traits.
It’s hard to move on when you’re waiting for that reply from your manager, your co-worker or your prospect. Time – as they say – is money. What makes the delay? Why the delay? Enlighten the person waiting for you.
A friend’s waiting to hear back about a consulting project. The prospect told him he’d have an answer by “next week.” It’s now been over two…! A co-worker forgot to give another co-worker a message that her client had come by and given the information she needed for a proposal…an unneeded delay. A job prospect hasn’t responded to your e-mail and resume. Delays happen, we all understand that. With today’s communication avenues, text messaging, e-mail and yes, the phone, it’s a common courtesy to respond within a week’s window. Yes? What do you think is the maximum time to respond?
But, within a week’s time, isn’t it good business to respond in some manner?
You’re waiting for that promotion after you thought you’d “nailed it,” and yet over a week’s gone by with no response. You call your client to offer more product, better service, a special promotion and don’t hear back. It’s frustrating and deflating. (Expert sales reps have a thicker skin than many of us…!)
Five recommendations for getting back to people:
1. Respond in some fashion within four days – especially when you know the person.
2. Write thank you notes.
3. Let the out-reach person aware that s/he’s worth your time to respond to his/her request. You like it when someone responds to you, and your responding to someone else is a great “thank you” and respect for that person’s time.
4. Communicate. Let the person know that the job’s closed, the sale went to someone else, you’re out-of-town and will get back to him/her by x date. (When you say, “I’ll get back to you next week.” then get back to that person within that time.) Maybe you are the right candidate, and the decision’s been delayed, please communicate that.
5. Avoid the void. You may be busy, out-of-town, in the middle of a multi-million-dollar project – we all hope! – preparing for a merger or the like, but a quick acknowledgment is a five-star for your company, your service, your product and you.
This week, respond to as many e-mails as possible, return some of those phone calls, text a message. Time? Yes, it takes time, and the more you procrastinate, the more e-mails build in your in-box, the more unanswered calls nag at your conscious, and the more people you “ignore,” the more it says about you.
Set a new standard: respond within four-days – when possible – and let the public out there know you respect their time, their product, their service, and above all, them – the same way you want respect.
Are you responsive?