How good are you at the simple task of replying? I recently sent LinkedIn messages to two high-up people in their relevant organisations. Both messages weren’t sales pitches, in fact they were more requests for a meeting/conversation to enhance my personal development and understanding, whilst providing a (free) value/benefit for the recipient, and their organisation.
Can you guess what both of these I’m-more-important-than-you types did? Yep, they didn’t reply. Here’s 3 theories on why this happened:
1. My subject headline wasn’t gripping enough.
This is the most likely reason (ever the optimist). My headline writing isn’t the best, and as a result it’s on my personal development list. Both of the gentlemen probably receive numerous messages daily.
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2. They actually aren’t active LinkedIn users.
Well, one of them “viewed my profile” (his biggest mistake), and the other is “customer experience manager” (or something to that affect), so I’m happy to discount this theory.
3. They think they’re bigger and more important than me.
They’d be right. For now. Once upon a time Sir Richard Branson, Bill Gates, et al were the little guy. I’ll bet that the people whom they got responses from throughout the early years saw one fantastic and continual return on investment (or response). I pick this one!
Now I’m not stating here that I am to become the next Sir Richard (who knows), but you see my point right? I’m sure you’ve experienced this at some point in your life, right? How did it make you feel? Annoyed, downhearted, worthless?
I felt all of those. BUT, and it’s a big but. They’ve lost already. Why? Because they have made one of the greatest platform-building errors you can ever make. They failed in the Human Element. Everyone in the modern world needs a platform. Platform in this sense means audience, community and network…not social media/technologies. They’re just tools, get over them! Simply, platform is built with people.
You may feel that the bios on social media profiles remove a bit of the need for replying…well, they don’t, if anything they enhance the need. After all I read the bios of these two gentlemen and the content of those prompted my getting in touch. The technologies will forever change, but people will remain the same, in the sense that they will always be there, in control. So you may think that you’re staying connected and building a platform by adopting technology…the likelihood is that you’re not.
Here’s 3 items to consider to test yourself:
1. What percentage of emails (one-to-one not newsletters etc), letters, phone calls, voicemails, and social mentions do you yourself reply to? If it’s nearer to 50% than 100% you’re failing as a human.
2. Do you reply to the little guy? If there message has some form of value, is it not worth replying to? After all, that reply could build trust with the recipient who may go on to be the next world leader in your industry.
3. How often do you reach out to reply? What I mean by this is, do you only reply to messages sent directly to you? Or do you come across general messages/questions online that you could reply to with help or value of some kind? One of the best ways to build reputation and trust is to become more unselfish with your human communication.
The moral of the story here is this; human communication is one of two constants in the world of business (the other being “change”).
Communication in this sense means at least two-way. It can be as simple as “Thank you for your message. Unfortunately I am booked up until the new year, but we can reconnect then if you’d like?” Human beings are creatures of emotion…and being ignored is one sure fire way to provoke negative long-lasting emotions towards yourself. The ROI of replying has many branches. It is an apple tree, in that it keeps giving if you allow it to grow. The more you reply, the more people will reply to you.