Monday, July 8, 2013

Responding: courtesy and good business

I received a letter today from a man who writes music. His request of me was that we publish his music. We do publish and sell our own music world wide (,   However, with over a hundred selections of our own, and that being merely a part of what we do, we are not really interested in dealing with a whole new facet.

One of the things he wrote caught my attention and should be of interest to you.

This gentlemen wrote: “ Your response can be a simple e-mail or a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but you will have afforded me the professional courtesy of a response...”

There are few things as annoying to me as the lack of a response to an application, a concern, an inquiry or an offer to serve. Regardless of the other parties reasoning, what that treatment says to me is that I am really not important and/or they believe themselves as something extra special and at a level above. I don’t do business with those people.

I have found it very rewarding both personally and in business, to make every effort to communicate with legitimate interests regardless of the level or the source – friend or foe. We are not talking about spam, form advertising, or phishing expeditions. Our reference is to genuine inquiries. Let me continue my story.

I called the man in Louisiana who wrote the letter. While I could not accommodate his wishes, I could provide suggestions and support for his efforts. I do not consider myself an industry leader nor any great paragon of wisdom. However, by his response, just the fact that I bothered to call, made his day a little better. And on the business side, that call may have little affect; however, it certainly won’t hurt.

As the top leader in organizations, I have always had a practice of returning every call directed to me. I have volunteered to meet with individuals and groups – regardless of animosity, differences, or concerns. I have to honestly say that this has been the most productive practice in circumventing grievances, reducing law suits, increasing productivity, gaining support, and improving my effectiveness as a leader, and ultimately, the organization’s success.

I have many good and bad examples of this principle. Let me just close with the following question: we spend many dollars trying to get the attention of people, but do we take the opportunity and listen to those whose attention we already have?