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Why Ignoring People Hurts Your Business

ignoring youI’m a writer and a business person. And, I’m one of the busiest people I know. However, there’s something I try really hard to do. I try to respond to every message (email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) or phone call directed to me. I’m not talking about automatic marketing emails. I’m talking about a professional or personal contact directed to me.

Sometimes it’s asking for a meeting or to pitch a service or if I know of any jobs. I’ll always read the request and try to at least get a quick note out that I am not interested or available at this time. Especially on LinkedIn or Twitter.

I think this strategy works for a few reasons and can teach an important lesson:

You never know where your next deal or idea will appear. Often, the best sales or connections we make are by chance encounters or “I was wondering emails.” Maybe you’ve heard the story of how Bill Gates and Warren Buffett met? Gates’ mom asked him to meet Buffett. We tend to ignore the requests of our mother’s or family members. Not this writer. I’ll always give someone five minutes. Maybe it’s the way my Momma raised me.

Business is about collaborating on ideas, ventures and opportunities. Opportunities don’t create themselves. People do. That’s why it’s wise to return phone calls, emails and other messages. Opportunities await when you least expect it and that person on the other end of the line may be the opportunity starter.

It defines your character. If you avoid people, you will gain a closed-off reputation. I’m not saying to spread yourself thin. It’s more about giving brief attention to each and every person that requests your time. You have the choice to say no. But it says something about you when you get back to people. It’s classy.

What are your thoughts on ignoring emails, phone calls or social media correspondence? Ever had a bad experience with this?