I think we can all agree on what I’m about to say but I felt I had to share because it’s just so crucial in business.
Communicate — both with potential and current clients.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been left hanging by others — it drives me nuts! I mean, wouldn’t that drive you crazy waiting on a reply from someone who is not responding to you yet is alive and well according to Facebook posts, ha!
We see this happen all the time both in our personal as well as our professional lives and it’s frustrating.
Yes, we’re all busy, and maybe the first 24hrs isn’t possible, but anything over 48hrs these days (unless outside your office hours or you’re in the hospital bed) is really unexceptionable. If you have time to post/tweet you have time to reply – just something short and sweet so the other person knows you haven’t forgotten about them is all.
If you don’t want the work, tell the client.
Be open and honest with your clients or potential clients but DO NOT leave them hanging. Leaving a client hanging does not send a good message and it certainly does not help your reputation – reputation is everything in business. It doesn’t matter how many likes, followers or whatever else you try to use as proof you’re good, it all comes down to reputation so make yours count.
- A client shouldn’t have to keep following up with you just to get started
- A client shouldn’t have to reach out to you on multiple platforms to see what’s going on
- A client should be able to connect with you on whichever platform you prefer (thinking social media here and the initial reach out) and then it’s up to you — the business owner — to redirect that conversation to your inbox — use email, not text, Facebook messenger, Instagram direct messages, etc.
As the business owner, it’s your job to:
- Show up
- Engage with your audience
You (the business owner) are in charge so grab ahold of the conversation, redirect it to email and get a system down.
Be about that inbox.
For me, I use my inbox as a holding place meaning the only emails in there are the ones I’m currently working on/need to follow-up with. Everything else gets filed away into a folder/label.
Now, some of you might be thinking, “That’s a great idea but my inbox is always full.”
Well, you have to ask yourself, “Why?”
Why is your inbox always full? What emails specifically are you getting that is filling up your inbox? Chances are many of the emails are junk emails — subscriptions and other promotional emails.
What you need to do is block out some time (I know, eye roll here) to audit your inbox — what emails do you get and which ones can you unsubscribe from?
Now, some of you will say, “But I like that email and try to read it when I have time so I don’t want to unsubscribe.” Fine, but sign up with a different email, not your work email.
Here’s what I do
I protect my main email address and only use it for business — meaning, clients/potential clients. Sometimes I’ll use it to sign up for things but it’s extremely rare because I have an email address for that.
For email lists subscriptions and pretty much anything else I use one of my other email addresses — you gotta have a system in place or it won’t work. And by it, I mean your business.
Now, some of you are probably thinking, “Man, I don’t want another email address that I have to remember the password and check every time.” Lucky for you, you don’t have to!
Do yourself a favor and get G-Suite.
G-Suite is going to do many wonderful things for your business but the main one will mention here is a professional email address.
By having a professional email address — an email that looks like this @yourdomainname.com — you also get what are called “aliases” which means multiple email addresses under one account.
This means you get the power of Gmail (the user interface which is way better than any web hosting mail program) and that everything is in one place — meaning one login.
Once you have this in place its time for you to train yourself to only give out your main email address to clients while using your other one for signups.
Now, some of you will read this and think, “This is great but it’s too much work and I don’t want to deal with it.” I totally get it. I would then ask you to think about your business and where you see it going in the next year.
Notice I didn’t ask the typical 3, 5 or even 10 years — I said “Next year.”
Why? Because, if you don’t fix the problem now you, your business and any clients you might have will continue to suffer — and it will only get worse.
Now, how does this tie back into where we started?
The whole communicate with your clients within the first 48-hours. Well, like I said before it’s all about having a system in place for you (the business owner) to communicate with your clients.
Once that system is in place you’ll be able to easily, and quickly I might add, get back to them regarding the job.
Again, these days it’s so easy to shoot a quick message (text, email, phone call, direct message) and let the other person know you’re still here and you’ll be in touch soon.
Listen, I just had an extremely busy week and let some emails sit overnight before responding to them — I had to have a clear head to read over them as they involved deals.
I still took a minute to send a quick direct message to the people involved letting them know, “Hey, I got your email and should be able to respond tomorrow.”
That quick message goes a long way and the other person really appreciated it.
I should also mention, the reason I sent a quick direct message was because the other person had started the conversation there and given our working relationship it was appropriate to update there.
The point here is this.
Whatever you do — whether it be personal or professional — don’t leave people hanging.
Update people on a regular basis even if you don’t have anything new for them — tell them that!
A quick update goes a long way!
Now, I’ve done my job by pointing out the problem and providing you with the solution. It’s now up to you to take it what I’ve provided and implement it.
It should also be noted, going back to email for a second, that you shouldn’t “Reply All” or “Cc” anyone who doesn’t absolutely need to know about whatever it is you’re talking about.
And if you do get these emails only respond when appropriate and only to those needed.
I should also note that if you find any grammar mistakes it was all me, ha! I don’t have an editor but I hope the content was so good you overlooked that. Thanks for reading!