The issue surfaces as something like …
“I invite clients to have lunch and I don’t hear back from them.” “I guess this means they really aren’t interested in getting together.”
Do you really think that’s true? Do your clients and prospects not want to talk to you? You do offer value added services that improve revenues or cut costs don’t you? Or do the services reduce risks, improve client satisfaction or improve productivity? Maybe they just make the client compliant in some way? Why would they not want to see you? Wouldn’t you see someone who could do that for you?
Now ask yourself this question. Do you have unanswered e-mails in your inbox? Email overload is a problem for most business people.
I know I do! People are very very busy. Their inboxes are full of e-mails that range from urgent/important to annoying /unimportant. Given that reality, returning your e-mail may just not be as high a priority for them as getting a response to that e-mail is to you. A different slant on your email etiquette can help.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to get more responses to your invitations.
1. Ask again. One or two non-responses do not make a rejection.
2. Make a call instead of e-mailing (and leave a really good voice mail if you don’t speak to them ).
3. Try at a different time of day. Their schedule may be less frantic on Friday afternoon than on Monday morning. After hours may be a better time than the middle of the day. Early better for them than late.
4. Make your invitation VERY specific. Please don’t write something like “Let’s have lunch soon,”. Much better to ask “Are you available for lunch on Monday, April 22 or Wednesday April 24.” Alternatively, give them a window of time for a phone call — the morning of the 19th or the afternoon of the 25th . If they’re not available on the dates you suggest, ask them specifically to counter with dates or times they are available.
5. Consider inviting them to something other than lunch. Lots of people tend to eat lunch at their desk. Suggest breakfast. How about dropping by their office for 15 minutes and bringing along their favorite Starbucks order? Maybe an early evening phone or Skype meeting? Connecting at a conference you both plan to attend?
Rob Biggin is the founder of Rainmaker Coaching, leaders in business coaching and mentoring to improve business performance. This was originally posted on his blog and we thank Rob for sharing it with us.