As a business owner, one of the hats you wear is sales. You solicit and go to the meetings, make the pitches, the follow-ups and the not-often-enough sale. Then there are the rejections, a result you’re often left to presume because of lack of response on the part of the prospect. Not only do they not return your voice mails and emails, they ignore you, delete you and – if you somehow catch them – lie to you.
No fun, is it? Then why would you do the same thing to people who offer their services to you?
No, not the telemarketers, survey pushers and coupon mongers whose offers you unfortunately happened to encounter just because you’re breathing. The people in question are legitimate providers that you solicited to perform a service, that you got quotes from – maybe even met with and/or consulted – before choosing someone else.
When you network for your business, you meet contacts and determine if they can help you or you can help them. When you solicit potential providers for your needs, you determine if they are the right person to help you – and if not, treat those providers with courtesy and respect by following up to let them know your decision. This is not only proper, but smart, because now these providers have become contacts.
Why should you keep these providers as contacts?
- Network. Everyone has their own network. Putting a bad taste in the mouth of the provider you didn’t choose automatically excludes you from their network and any referrals you would have gotten if you had stayed on good terms with them.
- Referrals. Maybe you couldn’t use that provider’s services, but maybe another of your contacts could. Now both your contact and the provider have benefited from your referral, and will remember when helping someone in need of YOUR services.
- Reputation. Ignoring the provider you didn’t choose can come back on you. What if one of your prospects comes into contact with them – what do you think they are going to say about you?
There’s no reason to ignore providers that you solicit but don’t use, and many reasons to treat them fairly. By simply communicating your decision and the reason why you did not choose them, you will earn their respect – and quite possibly referrals – down the road.