Million Dollar Consulting® Mindset
From Alan Weiss
Volume 2 Number 11
A monthly newsletter with the objective of quickly and pragmatically helping consultants to improve their craft, results, and lives.
Dealing with Rudeness
I preach that you should never consider your buyer "damaged." That's the safest, most intelligent first approach. But some buyers will turn out to be just that: rude, unprofessional, unethical.
Lousy prospects make horrible clients. They don't magically improve and learn manners. They become even more draconian once they have paid you and feel they "own" you, never content with the quality that you deliver. And they'll drain your energy from more important clients.
If a buyer doesn't meet commitments, fails to show up, cancels at the last minute, and so forth, keep this in mind:
- Never agree to a subordinate as a substitute. Even if you're already on site, simply say, "I'm sorry, it's inappropriate to continue this discussion with anyone but the decision maker."
- Don't hang around forever. Remember college, where you waited 20 minutes for a professor, then left? Wait 15 minutes, then leave your card and a message with a secretary or assistant.
- Accept two instances of cancellation or rescheduling, but not a third. Tell them, "Apparently this isn't the priority for you I was led to believe, and I can't invest more of my time in meetings that don't happen."
- Don't berate yourself. Some people rise in corporate ranks despite themselves (and small business owners are sometimes completely obtuse).
I arrived for an 8:30 am meeting with the owner of a small business who had read one of my columns and asked me to meet. His second-in-command met me and told me the owner was called away that morning.
I knew this was ridiculous, and that he probably told his wife of our meeting and was told not to spend any money on consultants! I wrote him a blistering letter, told him he was unprofessional, and that I would steer everyone relevant away from his company.
The company folded about a year later.
Frequently Asked Question
Q. I have a real, high level buyer, but she just won't sit down—keeps cancelling meetings and phone calls because of her schedule. I don't want to abandon this potential. What can I do?
A. You have a legitimate buyer but not a legitimate relationship. Why allow yourself to be treated this way? Ironically, sometimes you get business by walking away. Send her a certified letter and a voice message and tell her that you're happy to be of help, but only when the project is of significant enough priority that she can guarantee a meeting.
© Alan Weiss 2012. All rights reserved.
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