Successful people return calls

I've found that most really successful people return calls much faster than moderately successful people.   So the question is:  are they successful because they return calls OR do they return calls because they are successful.

I'm not sure. 

But I think it is wise not to chance it.  Best bet to return calls and email quickly.  

A lot of inbound emails are for people who are trying to sell you stuff or for things you don’t want.   With those emails, my rule is that if the email is written well, takes my interests into account, and is polite and short (without big attachments), I'll email them back and at least say that I'm not interested.   That way their time can be respected and they don’t have to follow-up with me.

All people should follow this rule.

But more importantly, emails from colleagues, friends, or business acquaintances should be replied to ASAP.  If you are on a call with someone and you agree to get something to them by Wed, then you should definitely get something to them on Wed.  And if you slip, you should let them know.   And if you don’t let them know, you should at least respond to their emails asking you about why you haven't responded.   It is only courtesy.

I personally take notes on everyone I interact with on the following items:
– do they get back to me in a timely manner?
– are they on time to meetings?

For people that respect my time, I give them a star.   If that person is ever in need of anything in the future, I go out of my way to help them.   If the person does not respect my time, they get a minus sign.   I’ll be less likely to respond to help requests from those people in the future.

Being nice to those around you, especially those that are a few rungs down on the ladder, is an essential to being a good citizen.   And of the people you are dealing with, you never know who might be someone that can yield influence over you in the future … so respect their time now.

10 thoughts on “Successful people return calls

  1. Elliott Ng

    agree with your post. I can do better on this dimension.
    BTW, there is a typo in the final paragraph – “few wrongs down” should be “few rungs down”.
    Thanks for writing this post.

  2. Elie Seidman

    Good thoughts. Particularly important to make time for those who are just getting started and can use guidance, advice or mentoring. We were all there at one point…

  3. wenzday

    oh, yes – very good advice…
    I’m curious though: Do you really take notes on people? How do you keep that organised? Do you store your notes in a CRM type database?

  4. Joanna Lawson-Matthew

    Amen brother – love this post! It’s all about respecting other people’s time and following through on promises … both in business and in your personal life!

  5. Mark Landay

    I agree, the few seconds to return a call is professional courtesy and you never know when it will lead to additional business and good karma.

  6. Adam Daniel Mezei

    Crossposted! Many thanks to Elliott Ng for pointing this post’s existence out on Twitter…I love when a plan comes together.
    I can’t get over how many people *can’t* do the small things right. Small things, IMO, which include replying to mails, responding to phone calls, and for crying out loud — doing what they say they’re going to do!
    I liken people who have major difficulties in this area to people who have problems keeping tabs on a budget: if you can’t do the small things right (i.e. if you can’t manage a budget of $5,000), you sure as heck aren’t going to be fiscally responsible with $5M dollars, you follow?
    It’s so obvious…
    Amazing and useful post. I’m going over to Facebook now to add you, Auren!

  7. Irina I

    This is clear and useful advice. I haven’t been the best about it (especially with friends where the stakes are lower), but now that it’s spelled out so clearly…I will start striving for very timely responses.


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