The Early Bird Gets the Worm (Er, the Business)

May 18, 2009 at 4:07 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, Customer Service, entrepreneurship, Networking, sales, Sales Training | Leave a comment

In this fast paced, technology-driven world, how fast is fast enough?

No doubt, the business executive who has a sense of urgency and follows up in a timely manner has always been more likely to acquire and maintain business than one who has a laissez-faire attitude. However, what was once considered to be an acceptable response time is now being deemed too slow by a growing number of people who expect everything post-haste.

Due in large part to the growth and advancements of the Internet and mobile devices, immediate response has become the new standard for conducting business in many industries. Those who consistently lag in returning calls or who aren’t easily accessible risk being replaced by someone who is more proactive.

Simply put, we are all increasingly making buying and referring decisions based upon response time, and if you’re the one lagging, you’re risking the possibility of losing valuable business. How can you ramp up your speed so that you’re the bird who’s getting the worm?

Establish a Communications Policy
The first step to improving your response time is to create a communications policy that you will follow. Establish how quickly you promise to return calls and emails. You should definitely be responding to inquiries, prospects, and clients either immediately or within a few hours. By waiting days, you will find that many will lose patience with you quickly, deem you slow, and move on. If you are prone to procrastination, write out your communications policy and keep it in a location where you will be reminded of it on a daily basis.

Make It Easy for Your Contacts
Give your contacts several ways to reach you to maximize their ability to receive a quick response. Consider adding to your business card your office and mobile numbers, email address, and IM address.

Invest in the Latest Technology
Are you still using an old phone or a substandard mobile phone service that frequently drops calls? Is your computer or internet speed slower than snail mail? If so, a few hundred dollars spent to acquire the latest technology is a smart investment in your future business development. Consider an iPhone or a Blackberry that allows you to phone, email, and text. Take advantage of the free or inexpensive services of a voice over internet protocol (VoIP) provider that enables you to make and receive free phone calls on the Internet and provides instant messaging capabilities with a presence indicator to let your contacts know when you’re available.

Respond Even If You Don’t Have the Answer
Lagging responders are frequently slow because they are simply reluctant to call or email someone when they have bad news to report or if they don’t have an answer. This is never a smart strategy.

Once you’ve established your communications policy, you need to stick with it – even when you don’t have good news or the necessary information. It’s far better to say “I’m sorry” or “I don’t know” than it is to be unresponsive.

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