Over the last year, I have noticed an interesting phenomenon related to networking events that truly surprises me.  We all go to events to connect with people who may be able to help us in some way as clients, referrals, collaborators, mentors, and more.  We also demonstrate our integrity and credibility and this is where we can easily harm our businesses.

Let me give you an example and see if it hits home for you.  You go to an event and meet someone who says “I love what you do, your product your idea, etc.”  You are excited about the prospect and willingly exchange cards and information. After the event, you do the smart business thing and follow up either by phone or e-mail.  Now comes the weird part. You had simply told the person you were following up and would like to continue the conversation or something to that effect.  They don’t respond to the e-mail or the voicemail.  You try a few times and nothing. You give up with them but….

Here’s what people seem to forget, the behind the scenes chatter.  If you see this person again you might make a comment but most likely not but you will tell others how they treated you.

If they treat potential resources, vendors, collaborators or associates this way how will they treat their clients?  Would you buy from someone who lacks integrity when dealing with others?  How hard is it to tell someone to thank you for the follow-up but this isn’t a good time or I’ve changed my mind or some acknowledgment?  To ignore and not respond is just plain rude, and who wants to do business with or associate with rude people?

Just so you know when people are dissatisfied with you they will tell 10-20 people and think of the sales or business you lost because you didn’t take the time to return an e-mail or phone call within 24 or 48 hours, even 72.