HOLY COW! I missed a big opportunity and nearly blew a relationship and was unaware of both. Here’s what happened: A fan of ours asked his director of operations to reach out to me. They had “training dollars” that they needed to spend. I can promise you as a leader of a training company- that kind of news is awesome…IF you know about it.
The bad news is that I learned of this opportunity too late. The good news is that the customer didn’t give up on trying to connect with me (thank goodness). We all move at some kind of warp speed. Case in point: the client had sent me an email that I had not received. He then followed up shortly thereafter and sent another email that I didn’t see.
The crazy thing is- at the same time, I’m liking stuff on this guy’s personal Facebook page. I know him, and I liked what he was posting. He’s also on our mailing list, and so we are e-blasting him. He was a bit irritated at my “seeming” bravado of communicating via Facebook and e-blast but being too (insert adjective here: busy, important, arrogant) to return an important email.
Finally, he simply responded to one of those e-blasts with the following email which I DID receive:
“Beth, are you getting my emails “?
To which I responded:
“Wow… I had not seen these at all… Of course, I would have jumped all over this!”
He sent me a copy of the original emails that he had sent 6 weeks prior. I’m not sure you can interpret the energy in my return email but honestly, I about threw up thinking that someone had been trying to reach out only to be ignored by me.
We set up a phone call, where I got to find out that I had missed a giant training opportunity. However, what didn’t happen is that a relationship was not blown. As I listened to the guy on the phone, I could hear that he felt like my silence meant that maybe I didn’t want to do business with them.
Email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, text, pony express, mail…all of these lines of communication are really good. However, you need to know that someone is reaching out in this written way. The lesson here is: IF you are not hearing back from someone; NEVER assume they don’t want to talk with you. It’s so easy to make up a story about why someone won’t reply to an email. Make your “go-to” thought be, “I bet they didn’t get my email…I better give them a call.”
Also, let’s not forget that there is a giant GAP at times with the written word. If I send a short email or text with just a few words, someone might think I’m mad because I was so brief. I am not usually brief with words. In reality, if it was a text I was just efficient with my words because I don’t type as easily on my phone as I do with a real keyboard.
The reality is that people are usually thinking something and you can’t really know what that something is. Check it out. Pick up the phone. Go see that person in person when possible. It’s amazing how information can change when you add tone, facial expressions, body language, and more.
A colleague always asks, “What’s the SO WHAT factor?” And to that, I would say that this situation is proof positive that our sales process is correct in that the 1st step is to CONNECT. You must be able to connect with one another in order to do business of any kind–personal or professional. Never assume that your inability has anything to do with the fact that the other person doesn’t want to connect with you. While that could be true, you won’t know what you’ve missed if you don’t do something different.