How not to win work

I received a rather stroppy email yesterday from a guy at an agency requesting a status update on a forthcoming project,  following up to an email that I failed to respond to a few weeks ago. Now I  felt guilty that I had not replied to the inital email, as I always try to be courteous, civil and respectful even if I have no intention of working with the organisation. But before responding, I thought I’d take a look at the original email, which reminded me why I put a response to the email at the bottom of my to do list.

“Dear Alan,

Would it be possible to pop in and see you this coming Thursday at 2pm (8th March) for a quick update on the position with the XXXX project? I have a gap in my day’s appointments and your location sits between two other meetings I have on Thursday.

Kind regards

XXXX”

What’s the problem I hear you ask? Well, he has decided the time that is convenient for him (not me) to meet. And it get’s better, he’s got two other meetings lined up on that day and he’s found a gap in his diary to slot me in to!

Talk about lack of customer service! Now I know that any agency is going to be working on a number of accounts at any given time however I don’t want to feel like I’m being shunted into a slot for their convenience. Let’s say I invited him in at 2pm however I wanted to spend 3 hours discussing the project? Would he have awkwardly made excuses about needing to leave early or would he have cancelled his next meeting? He’d probably have done the former, which would have annoyed me no end if he decided he needed to be elsewhere.  And then we come to the time of the meeting. He’s so busy that he can only fit me in at 2pm. What if that’s no good to me? Am I not busy as well? Or am I just sitting here twiddling my thumbs? 

So, next time you want to try and get that meeting, clear the decks and ask the prospect when would be convenient for them to meet, don’t arrange a meeting before or after (as let’s face it, you’re not going to be at your best anyway), and make them feel like they’re the only customer in the world. After all, they’re the one who is paying the bill.

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