One of the most underrated skills in business (and life) is simply being able to close the loop with people so you don't leave them hanging.
In other words, simply being able to reply back to people within a few hours or (at most) a few days so you resolve their uncertainty of waiting for your answer.
(🚨 Note: this doesn’t apply to unsolicited communications like sales pitches)
But a surprising number of people don't (or can't) do this, so use it to your advantage.
Humans hate being left hanging, so even if you get back to your business and personal relationships with a simple "no", it'll put you miles ahead of the competition.
I don't know about you, but I love having an unfair advantage - especially when this one is so easy to apply to generate tangible, real-world results.
Entire lucrative industries with highly paid staff have been built on this concept of closing the loop, including the fastest moving firms in tech, law, finance and strategy consulting.
And in relationship-driven *service* businesses, this is a MUST - particularly when the product you're selling isn't something you can openly show (or talk about) in order to demonstrate to prospects your superiority over the competition.
For example, Apple can demonstrate to their prospects greater skill, value, utility and judgment over Samsung by comparing, point-by-point, the openly disclosed and plainly visible features of the iPhone with those of Samsung equivalents (for eg. more storage space, higher megapixel camera, higher resolution screen, etc).
(The same is true when Samsung wants to demonstrates superiority over iPhones)
But certain service businesses like law firms can't openly share with a prospect the end-deliverables (restricted information) they sell.
For instance, a law firm can’t share a confidential Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) they drafted for a previous client and compare it with another SPA drafted by another law firm to demonstrate their own greater skill, value, utility and judgment.
This is why "responsiveness" (actually, hyper-responsiveness) is a sine qua non of law firms, accounting firms and other service businesses.
And it's also one reason why the *top* firms are so successful.
A lawyer who gets a client's query at midnight might not have the answer right away, but it would be in their interest to send something like "I don't yet have the exact answer for you, but I just wanted you to know we're on it" to the client right away.
And guess what?
The top tech companies (large and small, B2B and B2C) are exactly the same - they are responsive internally amongst colleagues, and they’re responsive to their prospects and customers.
Now, you don't have to take it to the same extremes as the most relationship-driven service businesses, but you DO want some level of responsiveness that is superior to your competition.
And believe me - people ARE silently deciding whether to work with you by your responsiveness.
And here’s another thing – if you can’t be counted on to reply when times are good, can people count on you to reply (or communicate) when things go awry?
It’s not hard to be responsive. For many of your professional relationships, your ability to do so (or not) speak volumes about how reliable, trust-worthy and safe they feel you are to work with.
I’m not saying you’re OBLIGED to reply.
Rather, I’m simply saying that you may want to reconsider your responsiveness because you just might be snatching defeat from the jaws of victory right now when this is such an easy fix.