You’re Kidding, Right?

By Sharon Worsley

“Honest communication is built on truth and integrity and upon respect of the one for the other.” – Benjamin E. Mays

In October 2016 I sent a Facebook message to someone (let’s call him John) I had met several years before. We had kept in touch off and on, but on this occasion, I had sent a copy of a Facebook post where a contact of mine was looking for a specific type of guest for a podcast. John was a perfect match, and so I wanted to make him aware of this opportunity. However, I never heard from him as to whether he had reached out to the podcast host.

I then reached back out to John in January 2017 to find out if anything had come of this connection. He responded a few days later that he didn’t know anything about this, even though I had included all the details in my message back in October.

So, I told him to refer to my message above and reach out to the person mentioning my name as we knew each other. I asked John to let me know the result. Guess what… no communication from John until March 22nd this year, more than two years after I had sent him the information to potentially help him in his quest to become a renowned speaker and trainer.

What did John want in this message? Well, let me share with you what he wrote:

“Hey Sharon, just dropping you a note. First off, I hope all is well! I have set a goal this year to be an international speaker. I am reaching out to all the people (referencing the group we met in) to help me make this happen. Let me know what you might need for me to make this happen. Thanks in advance for your help and consideration! Hugs, Light & Love.”

I must admit I did laugh as I read his request. After two years of no word back on the information I sent him, now he is expecting me to help him become an international speaker. He didn’t even mention the podcast I had told him about two years prior.

I see the above, time and time again, within businesses where people do not nurture their relationships but only reach out when ‘they’ want something from the other person. It is a turnoff to someone and can give a feeling of being used for their connections, rather than it being a healthy relationship where both parties are looking out for each other.

Did I respond to John? No, I did not because I am the type of person that will give you a second chance, just in case something happened, or communications didn’t get through for some reason. But once you have used up your second chance that is it. I wish you well with your business, but I will not go out of my way to introduce you or recommend your services as it is my reputation on the line.

At a co-working space, I have frequented I ran into a man who I had previously met when I was at a networking event over a year ago. He introduced me to his business partner, and they both explained what they did. Their business offering included a seminar series and also a monthly competition where people pay to be in the running to win. I mentioned that I knew of several people that I could recommend to them so I gave my contact details to them and asked if they would send me information on their seminar and competition so that I could connect my contacts to them.

Guess what – no follow up in over one month and probably not likely at this point. I had advised both of them that I could recommend several people to them, so in a way, I was acting like an extension of their sales team (which was just the two of them), and yet no response. Too bad, because I am very well connected.

What would it have taken for one of these two partners to send an email that day or within a couple of days to send me the information I requested to be able to send them possible warm leads. I wasn’t even looking for a referral fee, yet they lost their chance. I say lost their chance because when I run into them again, which is very likely, should they bring up the subject, I will have no hesitation to let them know that as it has taken so long to get back to me, I am not comfortable in recommending anyone to them.

Some of you reading this might feel this is a hard stand to take. I would ask you then how desperate you are for new business that you would be upset if someone refused to assist you in your business after you never followed up with the person as promised; that you compromised your integrity with that person.

On the other side of the coin, to those of you who would still offer referrals, what is your reputation worth to you? If this person/business hasn’t followed up with you in a reasonable time, what is the likelihood of them following up and then providing excellent service to the people/companies you refer to them.?

Then there is the opposite of not following up, and that is asking for business before a relationship has even been formed and nurtured. This morning I had a friend request on Facebook from a business owner in my city. I accepted the friend request at 8:08am and at 9:48am she was pitching me about her products. She doesn’t know anything about me or whether her products are even a good fit for me, but that didn’t stop her from sending two more messages with a pitch. The result is that I have now unfriended her and blocked her on Facebook.

Points to Ponder:

• Where are you not keeping integrity in your word to follow up with those you have committed to do so. What do you think the cost is because there is always a cost.
• How do you feel when people don’t get back to you when they say they will? Now ask yourself where you have done the same and how will you do differently moving forward?
• What systems and templates could you create to ensure that you fully follow up on opportunities to both save time and ensure that you connect as promised?

Sharon Worsley, The Business Development Ninja™ is the creator of the R7 System™ to Flood Your Business With Clients Today, Tomorrow and Beyond, helping businesses to ‘Wake Up, Shake Up, and Show Up.’ She also consults and coaches peak performers to excel as leaders. To learn more, contact Sharon at [email protected].