|Why Keep Them Waiting Forever?|
Bernardo wrote on his post: "Courtesy is part of any business relationship, whether we’re interested or not on what people are offering us" and I even dare to add that courtesy is an important component of life itself, because if it isn’t, what kind of world are we living on?
But getting back to the point which always occupies me, to offer you my thoughts or even a simple advise on issues I find relevant, so that I might help you better manage your business, I would say this time you have to start by understanding that everyone’s time and effort is as valuable as yours.
Surely you regularly talk about how important your relationships with customers are to your business, and definitely put a lot of value on all the interactions and contacts you have with them. Why don’t you do the same with the relationships you have with your suppliers and partners?
What makes the difference between them? Is it that some of them bring the money in (God permit) while, on the contrary, you consider all others an expense for your company?
Let's start with the basics.
Treat others with the same consideration you want them to treat you back.
And it seems out of place having to talk about this kind of things in a business environment, but it often happens that when someone is trying to sell you something, to offer you their services or to approach you somehow, you then assume that they should interpret your lack of response to their attempts to contact you as a "I’m sorry, but I'm not interested in what you're offering me", when it really shouldn’t be like that.
How can other people know what you're thinking, if you don’t tell them what it is? We can be highly efficient, but never mind-readers.
As everytime I make this kind of statement, I do explain myself: There are many and different reasons why you could not be able to answer an email or phone call:
- Because you don’t really care about what they’re offering you, or think is not the right time to review such information.
- There was a glitch in your company’s computer systems and all emails received that specific date were deleted from the server.
- The message was received by another person who inadvertently erased it.
- You have been sick for three weeks and couldn’t get out of bed.
- Your assistant lost all information about the person who tried to contact you.
- Your answering machine is not working properly or you don’t check your messages as often as you should.
As you can easily see, the reasons for not answering an email or returning a phone call are as different as the people trying to reach you, so it doesn’t make any sense on your side to expect that person to guess which one of them applies to your specific situation.
You must learn to say "Sorry but I’m not interested in your proposal at this time"
And with such a simple answer you free everyone of any compromise, real or assumed, which may have been caused by your lack of a clear and direct response.
By saying "Right now, your proposal is not of my interest" the first one to be relieved is you, since you won’t be receiving messages or communications from a person (or a company) which is offering something that is not appealing to you. You avoid the hassle of having to delete those emails thinking to yourself "But when are they going to realize that I’m not interested in what they offer?".
For the sake of our relationships with the whole world, we must learn to be honest when something is not of our interest.
But best of all is that when you offer a clear, direct answer, no matter how simple it might be, you’re doing what is professionally correct: You are properly respecting the time and effort of the other person, and clearly indicating that it’s not worth it to continue trying to approach you, at least for a while.
And the second side to benefit from your action: The person who has been trying to contact you. By having a clear answer from you, she can just flip the page over and focus on trying to reach other people who might be effectively interested in what her company has to offer.
Not only that but you also keep that person from having to go through the hassle of listening to your secretary as she says, for the fifteenth time that "I’m very sorry, but Mr. (you can enter your last name here) is not available to take your phone call at this time".
We are all customers and buyers at different points in our lives.
This is what Bernardo writes on his post, and I totally agree with him. Perhaps in your work you manage the purchasing area, and that’s why you get so many approaches from different companies trying to do business with yours. It’s normal. After all, everyone has to make a living, isn’t it right?
Today it’s for you, next day it’s for me, am I right? By treating people on a professional way, you make sure to receive the professional treatment you want for yourself.
And if you're in such a power position, it’s also expected (or should be expected) that you act professionally toward others, just as you would expect to be treated when you have to be on your own, without your company backing you up, and do your own selling.
Because all of us, at different moments in our lives, assume both roles as buyers and customers. Always.
So, to wrap this post up, I think you should take this into consideration: The next time someone makes contact with you for something you're not interested at the moment, take a deep breath and provide a honest and professional answer: “Sorry, but at this point time, I’m not interested in your proposal”.
It’s always better for everyone.
Photo Credit: Arpad Nagy-Bagoly
Here you have Bernardo’s post (sorry, no English translation available)
¿Estamos perdiendo el mínimo de cortesía profesional?