This One Behavior Will Set You Apart From Everyone Else
I was talking to a fellow freelancer about communication and the general lack of response of people when we email, text or call others. Many times we send messages and don’t hear back for days, even weeks. Sometimes we don’t receive any feedback until we follow up numerous times. This happens with active clients and people with whom I have a relationship. When it comes to sales activities, the perpetrators are even worse.
I recently had a client hire me because their freelancer went dark on the communication front. They had not heard from him in over thirty days and they needed reliable help quickly. After working with them a few months, this freelancer reached back out seeking paid work opportunities. As you can imagine, the client did not respond well.
I used to be the person who failed to respond. I struggled to maintain Inbox zero and reply to people in a reasonable amount of time. If you were not in my bubble, it was going to be difficult to receive updates. I was over committed and did not have the discipline or capacity to properly manage my communications. In fact, there were times it was so bad, I lost potential customers because, by the time I discovered their inquiry, they had already moved forward with another company. There were several times I hired an assistant to help me process my messages, but my lack of structure and problems were only exaggerated by the help, not alleviated.
Now, I’m the opposite (Long Story). I over communicate and respond quickly. If I can’t give a meaningful answer, I’ll at least note my receipt and let the other party know I’ll respond later with a detailed answer. I’m constantly giving clients updates weekly and as I work on their project (I even developed a system for it). I want my customers slightly annoyed at how often and thoroughly I communicate with them. I want to answer their questions before they ask.
The beauty of operating this way is it sets me apart from other freelancers and companies that offer what I do. Clients have a reliable partner that helps them grow their business and they don’t have to chase me down (In fact, it’s usually the opposite). When I do have something unexpected or problematic arise, it’s not a big deal because I’ve built so much relational and communication equity that they know there is a good reason I’m not responding. It also provides them a trigger to reach out again or in another form if it’s urgent.
This type of explicit communication is powerful and doing it well will set you apart from everyone else.
Which side of the spectrum do you fall?
Will you embrace this challenge to set yourself apart?