Strike While the Metal is Hot
A brief insight into why responsiveness, timeliness, and punctuality is important.
I had a phone call this past week in response to an email that came in through my website. I called the client back within a few minutes of getting the email. I wanted to share how that experience began to set the tone for our relationship, why I think that move was important, and some takeaways.
I don’t believe it’s realistic to keep your business “on” 24/7. Especially if you have a small team (or just you) – it’s just not realistic. That said, I think it is realistic to be willing to put in extra time to answer your phone, make calls, answer emails when you have “turned off” for the day. This is not a post to preach to you about grinding every hour of every day, waking up add absurd hours and staying late. This is a post about why it’s important to get back to people.
Jump on it.
On the call this week, I noted how the email contained key words like “hyper-organized”, “planner”, and some ideas for timelines. This indicated to me that my client valued time and scheduling and planning. Lucky for me, this was in plain writing. But anyone who has had some level of success in their business or ventures would explain that planning and scheduling and staying organized is a critical piece to their business – and that without it, things tend to get chaotic.
What my gut reaction was to do was to respond quickly. Why?
Well, I can identify with being a good planner, first. I also can recognize that good planners like quick responses that move their ideas forward. I was met over the phone with warmth – the client was surprised that I called back so quickly. My response? “That’s just how I do business”.
I began to set the tone for the coming conversation, and the future relationship. I can write for days about how to run your business, or how to act as an entrepreneur, or good habits, but this was action. I can have great reviews, and awesome testimonials, but this was the proof in the pudding.
The first lesson about “jumping on it” is that it gives insight to your business and how you’re running it. For small businesses, there’s a good chance you can scale this lesson to the size of your operation. How quickly can you respond to people? Is that a reflection of how interested you are in doing business with them? Is there a correlation? Food for thought.
The second lesson about “jumping on it” is the “first emotion” that clients, customers, etc., are exposed to when working with you. Because there’s a chance that your first interaction will set the mood for the rest of the interaction. If it goes poorly, you might be out of luck. If it goes well, you’d imagine things will continue to go well. But the lesson goes further. It affects the “last emotion”. How you leave your customer/client feeling. And the two can happen at the same time. People may not remember what you said, what you did, how you acted…but they will remember how you made them feel. And that can have long term effects…some that you may not be realizing.
The Important Parts
I felt like answering that email with a call was important. The client left a number to call her at. She wouldn’t have done that if she didn’t want me to exercise that option. That’s important part one. Important part two is that I was able to recognize key things my client would be looking for and fulfill those.
So beyond my interaction, how can you take something away from this?
It loops back to one of my earlier blog posts, but the point was that I listened. Actually listened. I began to meet the needs of my client with a gift…a skill…I know I have. The lesson is to start to weave in what you’re good at when it comes to first interactions to your advantage.
If it’s in person, and you’re great at conversation (unlike me, shout out to my introverts!), exercise that by attending things and sparking conversation. If you’re great at reading people, reading needs, and acting on those with precision, then be precise. If you’re someone who hates phone calls, write a script for yourself…write talking points.
The final piece to all of the above notes would be willingness. And I hinted at it briefly.
How willing are you to go the bit above and beyond to serve a potential client? To work hard to improve business? To push your comfort zone? I dislike phone calls, but I recognize their importance in business. I don’t like making quotes on the fly, but I appreciate their power in decision-making. What barrier are you willing to push to become willing to make the next sale? What are you willing to forego to lock in the client?
The lesson isn’t in always being willing. It’s about recognizing when you are willing to, and when you aren’t and the emotions and feelings tied to that. And recognizing those things is when your business starts to thrive.
My challenge is this: when an opportunity, or an inquiry comes knocking, try to be super aware of your reactions, the associated actions, and ultimately, what you do about them. And it may not mean taking action immediately, but it may mean bending how you do business and how you act as a part of your business. It may just mean that next door opens.
Thanks for reading. If you made it this far, you probably enjoyed the read. If so, it would be huge if you shared this post just once. I promise it will only take a second.