If That’s How You Treat Me, How Can I Send My Friend?
Managing our activities in this multi-tasking world is one of our biggest challenges, so we have to be careful that we’re doing the right work when we’re overwhelmed:
Return your calls and answer your e-mails-or have someone do it for you. Let something else go, not communication. Communication with clients and associates-even with vendors-should be your priority.
“Treat my vendors the same way as I treat my clients?” exclaimed Ted, a recent workshop attendee, “Why?”
I shared with the group my first rule of referrals, the one I call the “duh” rule:
Everyone you know and everyone you meet is a potential client, a source of referrals, or both.
A few years ago, one of my clients, Ron, told me he was looking for a marketing firm to help him with a promotion he was planning. I had recently talked with Andrea who, with her husband, had started a terrific advertising and marketing firm. Andrea had consulted me about working with them on time management and client development issues, but had not yet made the decision to hire me.
After I told Ron about Andrea’s firm, he asked me to arrange an introduction to Andrea, and I was happy to help. I left a phone message for her. She did not return my call. I e-mailed her to tell her that I wanted to stop by to discuss a possible client for her firm. She did not respond to the e-mail.
I know that Andrea and her husband were overwhelmed, and maybe they thought I was a “pesky vendor” who was just trying to move a sale along. But by choosing other work over communication with me, Andrea and her husband lost a client and a source of referrals.
I can’t say with certainty that Ron would have hired Andrea’s firm. Maybe not. But it was clear that I couldn’t risk suggesting to Ron that he call Andrea directly. I would be exposing him to the possibility that his call wouldn’t be returned. Or, maybe Andrea would return his call while he was a prospect for her business, but once he was a client, his calls and e-mails would be ignored. And if someone else asks me for a recommendation to a good marketing firm, how could I put that person at risk for the same treatment?
Communicate with the people who reach out to you. If they turn out to be “pesky vendors” in whose product or service you have no interest, simply tell them so.
If I can help you manage your time better, so that you can get more clients without putting in more time, contact me.
In the meantime, keep REACHING…