There is one thing that absolutely blows my mind…why are people who are so called influencers, so bad at responding? Over the past year, I have signed up for a few people’s email lists and they do a fantastic job with scripting their emails so that they read as simple, personable and very conversational. They follow all the techniques they preach about and follow all the advice of what the experts out there say to do. It’s a style I personally enjoy. The other aspect to the email is they make it seem like they are very open to receiving emails back from their community. The problem is that I hear these same people complaining about the abundance of emails they receive from fans or their community members. It’s not like the experts are saying this behind closed doors, they are blatantly saying this on podcasts that thousands of people listen to.

I get that these so called “experts” are so busy that responding to all of their emails could take days to do, but I don’t think they are seeing the value behind the interaction with their followers Now, I may not be at their level yet, but I get it, I really do. I sometimes receive numerous emails from people with questions and comments, and at times it can add up and be a bit overwhelming but I know the open line of communication I have created with my followers is one that will set me apart from the rest.

The problem is that these same people who go on podcasts and say they don’t respond to all their emails, are the people who put it front and center in their emails that they want to hear from you. Well, I’ll tell you, it’s no fun to reach out to a person, especially in a time of vulnerability and never hear back from them. That lack of response, no matter how long it might be, will quickly cause the trust that person has in you to disappear. That’s where it doesn’t make any sense. You spend all this time and effort, creating ample amounts of content and processes to essentially funnel someone down a path with a goal of having them sign up for your emails, but then you never respond. These people make it a point to tell people to reach out to them and yet, no response – that’s just ludicrous.

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There are certain experts who do a good job of being clear of expectations. Pat Flynn clearly states the best ways to get a hold of him are Facebook and Twitter. He also goes on to say that email is not going to get through to him. I respect that. Take a look at his contact page here; it sets the expectations his followers should have. Do I agree with him? No, but I do respect what he does there. I’ve reached out to him a couple of times on Twitter and never heard a peep from him. Again, if you tell someone how to get ahold of you and you don’t respond, that’s a loss of brownie points.

Gary Vaynerchuk used to be the king of responding to emails. I remember watching videos of Gary as he looked like he had two hours of sleep with his hoodie on in an air plane. There he was in the middle of a flight with his headphones on recording a video, responding to people’s emails. That’s respect to a ‘T.” He also said that no matter how long it took him, he would eventually respond to everyone’s emails. As he should. I sent a few to him. One time I never received an email back, but a few other times I got short responses. He wasn’t batting a 100%, but who does? The point is he tries and tries really hard. Gary gets the idea of respecting his community. He consistently is giving, knowing that will add up in his human currency so when he is ready, he can ask for his community to help him and they do without hesitation.

That is really the point of all of this. The idea of responding is showing the respect you have for another human being who has the courage to reach out to you. It might seem like an easy concept for most, but for some it takes courage to put their guard down and reach out to someone they respect, trust and admire. In most cases, they look up to the people they reach out to, especially if they reach out with questions, and in those circumstances you need to reach back out. Failure to do so is not an option.

The world we live in now is all about communities. It’s about building a group of people who want to hear what you have to say; it’s about giving to them, with the hopes in the day you ask something of them, they will reciprocate… and they will. There is no question about that. If you are in business in 2015 you need a community. It doesn’t matter how large they are. You could have a community of 10 people, but as long as they go to bat for you, that’s all that matters. With all of that said, let’s take a look of a few reasons you need to respond to every person. I just threw together a quick list.

  • Builds up currency
  • Grows your brand
  • You never know what might happen – that’s a big one. Time and time again and it has never failed me, the more I give without expecting anything in return, great things happen. Not good things, great things happen. For example, a prospective client who hasn’t called back about the deal finally calls back ready to sign; a new deal comes through the pipeline; a huge opportunity presents itself; a client refers a new potential client; and the list goes on and on.
  • Your community is everything in the 21st Century of marketing
  • Establishes trust
  • You gain influence
  • Expands your ability to touch people
  • You spread your message
  • Your story is heard more often
  • You help more people, which in return makes the world a better place

The funny thing about all of this is that you don’t have to spend every minute of the day responding to people. All you have to do is set specific times of the day and week to respond to emails. Social media is more immediate, but the same thing. You should set specific times of the day to respond to your tweets, Facebook comments, and LinkedIn messages. Never pass up an opportunity to connect with people who took time out of their day to reach out to you. It’s about respect. Unless they are spamming you, then don’t bother.

Honestly, responding is so easy. At times, it can be tedious, but the thing I have learned, the hard way of course, is that not responding will almost always guarantee you a missed opportunity.