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Have You Been Naughty Or Nice… To Your Vendors?

respect

 

Robert sat in the reception area of his top prospective client, and took another look at his watch.

His prospect was 20 minutes late for their meeting.

They had set up the meeting to review the engagement letter Robert had submitted to him 3 weeks ago.

Mr. Prospect had been largely unavailable and had left 2 of Robert’s emails unanswered after their last meeting with Robert even though he had said he was ready to move forward and approve the engagement letter.

He told Robert he was “sorry” but he was so busy at this time of year. Robert felt “lucky” to get this face to face meeting with Mr. Prospect. But now, here he was, waiting and worrying that Mr. Prospect would rush him through their discussion once he finally got into the conversation.

Fast forward 18 months.

Mr. Prospect calls Robert. He has been released from his firm and is looking for a new position. Perhaps Robert can keep him in mind for any positions that may cross his path? After all, he is working with many of Mr. Prospect’s former competitors so he will probably be the first to hear of any openings and opportunities.

How eager do you think Robert will be to help Mr. Prospect in his new job search?

The word “vendor” may have 6 letters but it is often spoken like a four-letter word among professionals.

Most business owners and professionals think long and hard about how they treat their clients.

But… 

When was the last time you thought about how you  treat your vendors? 

Have you been naughty or nice to them this past year?

When I was in my corporate management role, I was admittedly thoughtless about my vendors and learned a painful but oh-so-valuable lesson.

My boss found out about my leaving vendors waiting for long periods of time, not returning their phone calls promptly, and leaving their quotes and proposals dangling.

Rightfully, she gave me a lesson I never forgot. You see, she made me feel how my vendors felt when I dissed them.

Now, that I’m a vendor to my clients I can tell you how wonderful it is when they honor and respect me, and conversely how unpleasant it is when they are thoughtless, unavailable, uncommunicative, deceitful, and downright rude. It isn’t personal, true, but unpleasant nonetheless.

Here are some top ways you can easily fall into the trap of under-valuing your vendors, and the cost to you and your practice or business:

1. You don’t return their phone calls.

2. You leave them waiting for appointments or cancel repeatedly.

3. You don’t give them valuable information that can help them provide the best service and pricing for you.

4. You aren’t straightforward with them. You leave them thinking you do want to do business with them when you really don’t.

5. You pit one vendor against another simply to reduce pricing. I’m not talking about  fair and square price negotiating. I mean you just kick the tires of one vendor to help you reduce the fees from another.

6. You ask for proposals you have little or no intention of reading thoroughly or considering.

7. You bring unexpected and unannounced attendees into meetings with them and thoughtlessly throw an entire new dynamic into the conversation.

8. You are not the real decision maker but lead them to believe you are.

If you (or any of your staff) have engaged in any, or perhaps several of these practices, consider this:

 How it would be for you (or them) to experience this kind of behavior?

 And the cost to you?

Well it may seem like no skin off your nose – now. After all, you really are busy, or distracted, or don’t  need them at the moment.

But vendors have a way of changing roles and positions, as professionals do these days.

Your vendor today could wind up being your prospective client tomorrow, or your new boss, or the owner of a company you really do need services from, or someone who can tell others about your bad behavior that could damage your business or your career.

People may not remember what you tell them but they will always remember how you made them feel.

– Maya Angelou

‘Tis the season to think about whether you’ve been naughty or nice.

You’ve got a terrific opportunity to make things right (or “righter”) with them in 2015.

Got Doubt?

   Allison is about to land the client of her dreams when the last question asked by the prospect brings up a huge wave of DOUBT. Doubt seeps into her answer, and she loses the job to another candidate.

A client decides he wants to upgrade his business and signs off on your agreement on Friday. On Monday morning, he backs out.

 He tells you he thought about it and “can’t afford it.”

He has what I call “buyer’s remorse.”

What really happened? He began to DOUBT. He isn’t really doubting your ability, but rather his own decision-making ability. Unfortunately, uncertainty about himself is what will prevent him from having the very results he says he wants to produce.

It is so easy to DOUBT – one’s choices, one’s knowledge, one’s worthiness, one’s persistence.

DOUBT destroys enthusiasm, creativity, innovation, joy.

DOUBT diminishes performance.

Ask any professional athlete and he or she will tell you that as soon as doubt creeps into the mind, the scoreboard swings in the direction of the opponent.

We stop ourselves from the very things we say we want by doubting our choices and our ability to do those things we truly yearn for in business and life.

Second-guessing ourselves and others is a national pastime that serves no one.

Have you ever noticed how your friends and family will so easily endorse your uncertainty, but not be quite so free to endorse your bigger dreams and desires?

I am not saying we should indiscriminately do everything we feel like doing. Yet there is a huge distinction between being thoughtful and DOUBTING oneself.

Now consider this: where would we be today if Bill Gates had let doubt trump his decision to drop out of Harvard, or if Steve Jobs had allowed doubt to stop his decision to leave Apple or if J.K. Rowling had doubted her passion for writing ?

Common wisdom says your first reaction is the right one. This is because you intuitively KNOW what is right for you. If you listen carefully to your inner wisdom, you will hear what it is that is right for you. It is when you refuse to listen to this inner voice that this lack of trust in yourself eclipses your confidence.

I say it’s time to dump DOUBT from our minds and prevent it from destroying the joy and passion for the things and experiences that make life rich, juicy, and joyous.

It’s time to transform your doubt into determination.

 

Where have you doubted a choice, doubted yourself, doubted others and robbed yourself of experiencing something you’ve really wanted? Were DOUBT right or wrong?

 

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