strategic consultant to:  

~ serial CEOs & CTOs in software, Internet, technology & digital media
~ experienced consultants in all fields to maximize their practices

I admit, I’m like you — I want my prospects and clients to treat me with high respect.  I want them to have some courtesy about my schedule, especially if I offer them two or three potential times to meet with me next week.  I want quick response to my emails and voice mails.  I want timely commitment so I know how and when to move forward.

Not getting enough?  Me neither.  And never have.  And, to tell the truth, I get a bit more than lots of folks.

This discourtesy happens to me, and to my clients.  The world is busy.  Bosses don’t respond to coordinators, who then do not tell you whether the gig is on, the schedule for your travel is planned, or that the deal has been authorized.

Prospects with deal memos in hand, or even long form contracts do not respond in a timely way.  Why?  Because they don’t want to confront you about one of the terms in the deal (did you not handle this in the deal memo?).  Or they are not going to hire you or buy your products… and they don’t want to step up and say “Sorry, no.”  So they say nothing at all, and don’t return your calls and emails.

Prospects in negotiation with you get “deal weary” because they don’t know how to fix the obstacle, and your offers to “talk about it” get ignored, time and time again.  So you are left hanging, thinking you can move past the objection, but you can’t get the phone call returned.  More conflict aversion (and tiredness) on the part of the prospect.

The secret?  Not caring about it.  Not taking it personally.  Not paying attention to the discourtesy and dysfunction in the world.  Moving on with your work and your schedule, and responding that the offered schedule time has been filled, sorry.  Or that you actually are now over-commited and cannot take on their project.

If you are busy and doing well, the discourtesy of these prospects, referral contacts and colleagues slides off your teflon back.  You do not have time to care about slow response from a pending deal, if you are busy with paying clients and customers.  You’ll ping them when your tickler file or follow-up system reminds you to do it, and then go back to work with those who are getting value for their payments to you.

And, when you are in a lull, and not busy enough?  Same behavior.  Of course, in the quiet of the not-busy-enough, not-paid-enough, need-the-revenue moment, these discourtesies scream in your ears.  You become over-anxious.  You want to ping these folks every day.

Well, you can’t.  You must learn patience, particularly during a lull or a downturn in your business.  Eager pursuit, “chasing” your prospect, will doom you to becoming a “vendor” who is open to being negotiated down.  This never works.

If you must, you pretend.  That’s right, you pretend you are busy and revenue-positive.  You pretend to yourself, so you behave correctly, and you pretend to your prospects, who will not be hurried or hassled to close before they are ready anyway.  All you lose in your anxiety is your value pricing and the real respect you actually have (your own and theirs).

Truth is, they are not thinking of you.  They are busy.  Or they have to get approval, and they are embarrassed that it is taking so long.  They have other priorities.  They will be very responsive as soon as they need you, as soon as your offer rises to priority-level for them.  They are not dis-respecting you.  They aren’t thinking about you the way you are thinking about you (or the way you are thinking they are thinking about you!).

So, relax.  Learn patience.  Set up a system that makes sense for your business that is a respectful outreach to your prospects for follow up, and which seems responsible but not eager.

And don’t beat yourself up that the world does not see your value and your contribution.  No one but you can hear that voice in your head, and anyway, it lies.