When I was a young lawyer, my mentor at the large law firm where I worked told me something that I never forgot. He said,
“Brian, lawyers aren’t sued for malpractice because their legal work isn’t good enough. They are sued because they aren’t responsive to their clients. You see, clients get pissed off when lawyers don’t respond quickly and if they get pissed about that and are frustrated with the result of your work, then they will sue you. But remember, it was because you weren’t responsive, not because of your work.”
Over the years that mentor said many wise things to me, but that was certainly a pearl of wisdom that stuck with me. Since then, I have ALWAYS been incredibly responsive. Frankly, it’s the cornerstone of my business practices and something that I strive to impart on those I mentor now.
In fact, I often say e that if you email me and I don’t respond within 24 hours it means one of two things:
1. - I am Dead. Which sucks for me.
2. - I am traveling abroad without internet access and by the way, I have two little kids, so I never do this.
The point is, I respond very quickly and people appreciate it. It is a simple tool that has significantly helped my business. In fact, most of the successful people I know are incredibly responsive too. When I hear people tell me that they were too busy to respond, I often think of my friend who is a US Senator. He ALWAYS responds quickly. The truth is, if he can respond, so can you pal.
So, when people tell you that you should shut off your email for a week while on vacation to get away, think of the message it sends to people you do business with. The message is clear. You don’t care enough to do the basics and respond to something that they need.
Another message is equally clear, which is that they may as well send their business to someone else because that person can and will respond. By not responding, you are giving someone else an opportunity to get business that would have been and should have been your business.
Think also about the fact that if you ignore your emails when you are on vacation, you will have so many to respond to when you get back that you will be behind for days. That’s not good for business either.
So, my advice is simple: ALWAYS be responsive, not just when it’s convenient to you. People notice, existing clients stay with you, new clients will want to work with you, and your business will grow simply because you decided to be responsive.