when I call upon your business, to help you out and fill a need. I have the power to help increase your revenues and make life easier for you. I have the power to truly make a difference in your business. I have the power to spread the word about you and bring customers your way. All if you permit me to help you of course.
As a business, when I call upon your business, I have the power to take you off my list and not speak well of you. I have the power to spread the word that you’re not someone to do business with. I have the power to give you a bad review and make things unpleasant down the road. Without you ever knowing of course.
Business-to-Business. As a business owner who calls on other businesses every day, I’m amazed at how some business owners treat their fellow business associates. Coming from a place of experience; there’s a few thing you should consider when another business calls on you:
- Show respect, we’re both on the same team!
- Just because I’m not a customer doesn’t mean I don’t have something of value to offer you.
- Just because I’m not a customer doesn’t mean you should treat me any different than you would your customer.
- I’m calling on you because there is a need that you have and I’m trying to fill it. If you don’t have that specific need; I’ll be polite and quickly move on (courtesy should be mutual).
- Your reputation is at risk. Even if you have a good reputation with your customer community; you put it at great risk by being disrespectful or rude to other businesses in your community, especially in these fast social media driven times. Think about it.
- Keep in mind that I may very well be looking at you from on an online directory or listing. Depending on my personality or depending on my mood, in one click a remark about you can be made whether good or derogatory; only you will help determine that. Don’t forget, I have the power. (Now, as a business owner, I think this is completely awful and flat out wrong to do that to anyone. I’m of the school of thought that if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. However, I will say that many, many business or salespeople may not feel the same; in fact, I’m disheartened at just how many.)
Not only should businesses be all about their customers; they should be all about people across the board! It’s not just your customers that make up your business, it’s simply everyone you come in contact with. Don’t become so focused with customer service that you forget people service! I’ve witnessed the one-sidedness of this and it can be ugly. I actually feel sorry for their customers because the business comes across a such a fake. (One time I called on a company, The Happy Handyman. After my initial introduction, he was probably one of the most memorably rude people I’ve come across. It plagued me all day that he actually named his business, “The Happy Handyman” when he could have been the poster child for nastiness!)
Of course, this shoe can easily be put on the other foot. As the business being called on, you have the power to do the same to me. If I’m rude or pushy or arrogant, you can find out my information and look me up and do the same. (There was an electrician that I had left a message for about my company and it turned out he obviously had a disdain for “solicitors”. He felt the need to obsessively call for over 24 hours and blast hideous heavy metal, devil worship-sounding music every time the phone picked up or message recording came on. Niiice! This is one of my fonder memories.) You see it works both ways; however, more often the business contacted is the more vulnerable one.
So really the point of this is to be respectful and courteous in business-to-business; just as you are to your customers. There is power here, so don’t give anyone reason to abuse that power. This being said, there’s huge room for discussion on how someone calling on a business should conduct themselves as well. I will cover this next week.
This is an ongoing topic about business courtesies that I will definitely be expanding on. I hope it’s something for you’ll come back for!
So, I’m curious … what your thoughts are on this and if you have experience on the front lines like this. Would you consider leaving a bad review or sending a negative tweet or post? Do you ever think it’s justified? Thanks so much!!
The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse. Edmund Burke, speech on the Middlesex Elections, 1771