Radio silence - what would you do?
I am still at a loss to understand why some prospective clients insist on leading you on a merry dance. When it comes to meetings, generating ideas and plans they are keen as mustard. But once they have all the information, they suddenly become distant or disappear altogether!
I appreciate the fact that I may be involved in the “just got to get three quotes” scenario, but what happens if it’s not that at all? How should you react and how many times should you chase them for an update?
A poor outcome
When it comes to time wasters in business, it’s a shame that it’s not tattooed on their foreheads. At least a few times a year, I find myself pitching for something that has no good outcome. You would have thought that I might have got wise to it by now, but no, some people are still very adept at saying all the right things and reeling you in.
Past behaviour can indicate future behaviour
Take a recent example to illustrate this point. There is a lady who I used to work with several years ago. The relationship had its problems, but we sorted through them and were able to forge something fairly decent out of it. Recently she has moved businesses and wanted my help again. OK so the rebirth of this relationship wasn’t off to a great start when she cancelled two meetings due to work commitments, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt, given our previous history.
So on the third occasion, when we finally met and I was appraised of the situation, I went off and put together a full proposal with costings. I sent this to her within the time lines agreed and then chased after a few days, but with no luck. In recent weeks I have continued to email and phone her and then two weeks she contacted me for my availability so she could call and talk things through. It will come as no surprise to you to learn that she didn’t get in touch on either of the specified dates and times.
Onwards and upwards
So what now? Well from my side it’s simple. I am officially done with this game. It’s a valuable lesson to learn really and one which I think we all have to keep revisiting to prove a point. Let’s face it, some people are just hopeless at following up and following through.
You can do everything possible to make a relationship happen but without a response or some basic two-way communication it is doomed to failure. And to be honest, if things had progressed, you can bet your bottom dollar that at some point in the future her true behaviours would have come to the fore. Leopards don’t change their spot after all. Better to cut your losses and walk away, than sign yourself up for something which will undoubtedly be hard work (on your part) and not very rewarding.
So if someone is disrespecting your time or your value, it’s time to walk away. You are worth more than being treated badly and perhaps it might be time for them to learn some basic business etiquette!