Three weeks ago I wrote a blog post called "Respect For Schedules - Don't 'Better Deal' People". The post was inspired when a sales guy in the local office of a business services firm canceled a meeting we had scheduled to have coffee, catch up, and network....TWICE.
Both times he called off our meeting with short notice and claimed to have meetings with "important" prospects. It was clear that he ranked everyone he encounters as to how they could help HIM, and I was clearly not high on his floating scale of who mattered.
It was not that he was busy or impressively doing deals in this economy that stuck with me, it was that he had ZERO respect for my schedule. I could have had other meetings set at this time, but I held to our plan, and put others in different slots on my calendar. I was abandoned when he changed his mind about the get-together, and my time wasted.
Now I am the first person to realize that in any economy, a meeting with a prospect is very important... but one has to know how to manage their calendar. If I don't rank, cool with me... do not schedule the meeting in the first place. To cancel meetings on occasion is unavoidable, but twice sends a message that you are selfish and just don't respect the other person.
Alas, welcome to TODAY. The reschedule of our coffee meeting was on the agenda for three weeks. I even ran into him four days ago and we confirmed the appointment was coming up. But with one hours notice, he called to say that he had an unfinished RFP for a prospect, and thus he needed to bail out.
He wondered if tomorrow was available.
NO. Tomorrow is not available.
I am not the most important person on the planet. Meeting with me and having me as a referral source probably makes no difference in his success.... so I doubt he will lose any sleep on this one. I did not tell him that "when hell freezes over" is my current opinion of when we will get together, but I am sure that he sensed my cool attitude when I failed to calendar another date on the spot.
He said he was sorry. But as I tell my kids, sorry does not erase the things you do.
We all need to remember that our reputations, our personal and professional brands, are built by our actions.... not our words. People all desire to feel respected by others. When you make another person feel small, they hurt. When you hurt them more than once, they don't forget.
Now, I also know that over time I will soften and if he calls in a few months I will set an appointment and try again. That is just the kind of person I am... in the end I want to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.
Have A Great Day