In the art of building great business relationships, it’s important to remember that you are never too busy to respond to a request, regardless of the form in which it is delivered. The best way to squander relationships and in turn, opportunities, is to avoid responding to messages that you deem unimportant or not worthy of a response. Whether it’s via email, phone calls, text, DM, or smoke signals, it really doesn’t matter ~ you should always respond (unless of course it’s spam).
I know you’re thinking, “But Lou, I do not have the time to respond to everybody; I’m too busy.” I’m calling you out on this one: bullshit. Everyone has time to respond if they are organized properly; everyone, even billionaires who own NBA franchises. Let me tell you a little story…
This past summer, I was rounding up quotes for my book and asking various folks to review Winning the Customer in order to include their quotes in our promotion of the book. I made a long list, and was thrilled that most everyone agreed to read the book, and the few that couldn’t responded with nice notes of apology. I had one name on the list that, in my mind, was a long shot and I stalled reaching out to him for most of the summer. It was Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks. I was hesitating because we hadn’t had a conversation in over a decade and, quite frankly, I wasn’t sure if he would remember me. I finally sat down and cranked out this email to send to him:
I realize that you will not remember me, but back in the late nineties we did a deal when you had AudioNet and I was running marketing for Sports Radio WEEI in Boston. We gave you the rights to air segments of Patriots Monday with Bill Parcels and Drew Bledsoe. While you were selling Broadcast.com, I moved to the Patriots and became their Chief Marketing Officer. I write to you today, not to reminisce, but in the hopes that the business interaction would give you just a little extra push to review my request.
I have written a book that I believe you will enjoy and it’s right in your wheelhouse, entitled Winning the Customer, coming out in September from McGraw-Hill. It’s what I believe is necessary to convert consumers into fans in any industry and told through my stories in radio, TV, the NFL, MLS and as an entrepreneur. My request is for you to check it out and if you happen to think it’s worthy, I would be thrilled to have a quote from you. If you think it sucks, well let’s hope that is not the case… Attached is an executive summary of the book and below is a link to the eGalley of the book if you decide to review.
I appreciate your time and consideration. Thank you.
I didn’t have Mark’s current email address, so I went to the HDNet web site, clicked on “Contact Us”, and figured I would ask someone to pass the email along to Mr. Cuban. However, once I clicked through, there was a sentence right in the middle of the screen pointing out a link to email Mark Cuban. I still figured I was sending a note to an employee who sorts through emails and that maybe, just maybe, in a few weeks I would get a reply. I figured it was worth the shot, so I pressed send.
To this day, I am still amazed at the result. In six minutes – not six hours, six days or six weeks – in six minutes, I got a reply that read:
You got it… of course I remember!
Wow! It had been literally 15 years since we had any communication of any kind. In all of the sports business I was involved with, and all of the events I have been to over the years, we had never bumped into each other, and hadn’t talked since that Audio Net/WEEI content deal.
I share this because if Mark Cuban can respond in six minutes to someone he hasn’t heard from in 15 years, then I would have to believe that each any every one of us is not too busy to respond to the requests we get. Big thanks to Mark Cuban, not only for the quote, but also for showing us the way. Mr. Cuban is a true champion.
In case you were wondering, here’s the quote Mark gave me for the book:
“Lou was years ahead of his time. His insights into gaining and retaining customers are valuable to every CEO no matter what size the company.”
~Mark Cuban/Chairman, HDNet & Owner, Dallas Mavericks