Recently I received a masterfully written letter asking me for a favor. It was from an executive of a major publisher. For a number of reasons, I was unable to do exactly as the executive requested and I responded accordingly.
I also told the writer of the letter how much I admired his communication skill and that I had shared the letter with several others as an example of terrific marketing.
I never heard from him again. My reponse opened a door and he chose to ignore it.
You could surmise that since I didn’t do what he asked, why bother with any more communication with me? There are several reasons:
1. The letter seemed very personal and sincere; by not acknowledging my response and positive feedback, it now seems a bit contrived (“you didn’t give me what I wanted so to heck with ya…”).
2. Although I couldn’t do exactly what he asked, there were lots of other things in the future that I could have done that would have been mutually beneficial. My response was the “open door” to pursue those possibilities.
3. Little things create relational capital. Goodwill is always a good thing even without a specific payoff. I now feel I wasted my time writing back.
You never know where an open door might lead. When you spot one, consider moving through it rather than past it.