by Nichole Bazemore

Something unusual and pretty exciting happened to me recently.

I stumbled upon an innovative marketing consultant’s website through one of my social networking channels. I resonated with her quirky, no-holds barred writing style and sense of humor. To quote Seth Godin, we were part of the same “tribe.”

So, when I received an email about her free, 30-minute individual marketing coaching session, I pounced on it. I hardly ever respond to these invitations, so my taking the time to reach out to her was huge. Our call was scheduled for 9 PM EST, a bit odd by conventional standards, but because she was in another part of the world where her day is my night, I didn’t worry about it.

I prepared my questions, giddy at the thought of speaking with this woman, and eagerly awaited our 9 PM conference. Then, about 2 minutes before our scheduled call, I got an email that read like this:

“I’ve done so many of these today that our conversation would be good, but it wouldn’t be GREAT. Let me know if you’d like to reschedule.”

Suffice it to say that I was baffled. So baffled, in fact, you know what I did? I didn’t reschedule. Instead I unsubscribed from her mailing list. After all, her track record showed that even though she makes a living showing others how to grow their businesses, she herself doesn’t always show up for prospective clients. Why would I give her the chance to stand me up twice?

Over-reacting, you think? Maybe. But it’s business, not personal, and in business, as in life, 90% of success is about showing up.

Are you as successful as you could be in business? If not, consider how you’re showing up for your prospects and clients. For instance, do you:

  • Respond to all emails/phone calls within 24 hours?
  • Follow up on all proposals within 24 hours?
  • Meet deadlines, sometimes in advance?
  • Do little things, like send emails or cards, to commemorate important events in your clients’ lives, like birthdays or anniversaries?
  • Thank people who refer business to you?
  • Have a preferred vendor program?

The truth is, many small business owners and freelancers perfect their product or service and spend countless hours perfecting their sales pitch. But precious few perfect the art of showing up.

Little things, like responding to emails, meeting deadlines, and thanking those who refer business to you will differentiate you from your competitors faster than your product or service will. Even better, it will keep you top of mind.

I discovered how powerful showing up is recently, when I reached out to a client via email just to say I was available for more work. The client responded – within 24 hours, no less – to say that I’d contacted her at the perfect time. That one email resulted in a $2,000 project, proof that in business, it really does pay to show up.

Nichole Bazemore is a freelance writer who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Her company, Simply Stated Solutions, provides marketing materials for coaches, consultants, and small businesses. You can read her blog at http://simplystatedsolutions.com/blogs/.