Solopreneurs: Two MONUMENTAL Reasons Why You Should Always Respond So Very Promptly to New Prospects

Beyond the obvious objective of just plain being polite, your responsiveness to inquiries can make or break your business as a solopreneur.

“The early bird gets the worm,” is more than only a trite cliché. It’s a reality that can, if ignored, bite a professional services provider in the hind quarters.

Though you don’t have to respond immediately to every inquiry that comes your way, you need to RSVP to new opportunities as quickly as you can. Why? It’s likely that your prospects are reaching out to multiple professionals at the same time. If it’s the first time you’ve heard from them, it’s doubtful that they are completely sold on you and your capabilities. Assume that they’re also reaching out to your competitors so they can compare and contrast to determine who will be the best fit.

First impressions count

When prospects are sizing up potential providers, making a stellar first impression can set you apart. And being quickly and respectfully responsive to their initial inquiries is one way to make that ever-important first impression.

Just recently, a prospect emailed me about her needs for press release content. I was busy working on projects during the day, but as soon as I saw her email later in the afternoon, I replied to thank her for her interest in my services and to set up a call to learn more about her needs. To me, responding to a new opportunity after almost an entire day had gone by seemed a little slow on the go, but to my surprise, she replied to me with sheer gratitude for my timely attention. After talking with her by phone the next day, I learned that her past experiences with other professionals left her with lowered expectations for the timeliness of a return email.

An open door to differentiation

How sad. But what an opportunity for solopreneurs who don’t take prospects’ patience for granted! By taking the initiative to respond either the same day or within 24 hours of an inquiry, you can establish yourself as a responsible and reliable services provider. Through the simple gesture of showing respect and demonstrating that you value the potential of working with someone, you instantly give yourself credibility – and a fighting chance of getting the business. I believe it absolutely helped me secure a working relationship with the client I was just speaking about. And, now that I think of it, I suspect it has helped close deals with some of my other clients as well.

Don’t underestimate the importance and power of the RSVP! Though other factors come into play, your responsiveness to new prospects will definitely put the odds of landing new business in your favor.


Your turn! How long does it typically take you to respond to new prospects? Know anyone who has lost prospective business because they weren’t responsive? 

6 comments on “Solopreneurs: Two MONUMENTAL Reasons Why You Should Always Respond So Very Promptly to New Prospects
  1. dynamicnet says:

    Dawn, very good points.

    Do you find it interesting the prospects expectations based on past results?

    When we get a phone call from a prospect, they are often surprised a human being answered the phone vs. a phone system menu tree.

    If they email, they are often surprised we answer (if during business hours) in 15 minutes or less.

    To me, your experiences and ours makes one wonder why so many businesses are lax in that area.


    Thank you.

    • dawnmentzer says:

      Hi Peter…It makes no sense to me why any small business would not follow up on potential leads quickly. I really was surprised that she experienced such a poor (or no) response from others. Even if I don’t have time to get into an in-depth conversation, at the very least I try to give a courtesy call or email to say “thank you” for their interest and to set up a time to talk.

      I think it’s stellar that you have a real, live, breathing person answering your phones…that’s increasingly rare, and people (like me!) really appreciate it. And your email response time is phenomenal!

  2. Dawn,

    I’ve had similar experiences to yours. I recently picked up a new client who changed to me, in part, because of a lack of responsiveness from their prior accountant. They told me that sometimes they would e-mail the accountant and get no response for DAYS.

    I always reply as soon as possible with at least an acknowledgment that I got the e-mail. It may take me a day or two to reply with a complete answer, but clients LOVE it when they get a quick acknowledgment, even if a full response doesn’t come for a few days.

    I have also heard from people who say their prior accountant wouldn’t answer their questions. Literally, the accountant would just shrug his or her shoulders and leave the client hanging with no answer. I never leave a client hanging. If I don’t know the answer, I figure it out or I connect the client to someone who CAN answer their question.

    In the comments I wrote here, you can substitute the word “accountant” with most any occupation. There are, unfortunately, folks like that in any industry.

    • dawnmentzer says:

      Wow! To not reply for days – except in the event of an emergency or if on vacation (provided an out-of-office msg is in place)- is a deal breaker in my book. Kudos to you on your diligence to provide the type of experience clients will remember – in a good way! Thanks for your comment, Jason!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.