Being kicked to any curb is no fun. It means you got dumped, fired, let go, thrown under the bus. This past 6 months, I’ve kicked some folks to the curb. Here’s the story and how to prevent it from happening to you.
I’ve been slammed. Not only have I been retooling and relaunching Oddpodz, but also I’ve been creating a new global eco-brand called Earthwise. It’s been fun and challenging as the client operates in a complex, industrial space.
My branding firm is not huge, so like many small business firms, we’ve got to leverage other professionals along with my leadership and project management to handle big projects.
A few weeks ago, my team and I introduced this new brand to over 400 employees. It was a great success. The event was smooth and my client was very happy. As part of the event, we produced a FLASH presentation on Earthwise, how the brand got started, what we had accomplished and where we are going next. The FLASH movie highlighted all of our work, the new website, social media blogs, collateral, trade show tools, PR and media training. It was amazing to see what we had accomplished in less than 4 months being a fairly small shop. The secret to this high volume of deliverables was extending my core team with some very competent, specialized, highly-skilled contract service provider/partners.
So what makes an awesome contract partner or service provider? And what lame-o experiences warrant being kicked to the curb? And being removed from “the never again call for business” list?
Here’s my recap and I’d bet my BMW, these simple “should never do” acts are universal deal killers and will quickly kick anyone to the curb.
While the examples below are business situations, if you are guilty of them, they will run off your friends too.
Leave your crabby-pants at home. It does not matter how skilled you are, the quality of your work product or what big clients you’ve helped, no one wants to work with a whinny, negative, grumpy person. If you are not sure whether this is you, hit the record button on your iPhone and play back a call from a recent client conference. Your phone voice should scream smiles and I’m here to help, not bitch and give 10 reasons why you can’t do something. This vendor kicked them self to the curb.
Get over the poor-me, victim persona. OK, life is tough. We all have challenges; sometimes life truly sucks and we know you are trying. However, no one wants to here about all that junk even if we are buddies. Here’s the reality, you don’t earn any points from this “woe is me” blah, blah, talking like I’m your therapist or mother. It’s not cool and this behavior will wear down a customer faster than you can say “GONE”. This service provider kicked them self to the curb.
Return phone calls in a 48-hour window. I don’t care how busy you are or what’s going on, and if you are that busy, you can afford an assistant to help you. If you have a working relationship with a company, you have a duty to get back to them in 48 hours via email or phone call, unless you did get hit by a bus, then all right.
Even if this means setting up an auto reply, letting the world know you have some unusual circumstances that are preventing you from returning calls. Can’t figure this one out? Nothing makes me crazier than when someone who I have a contract with is MIA, and I have to resort to threats to get their attention. Not returning calls in a timely matter is one of the fastest ways to kick yourself to the curb.
Read what you sign and take responsibility for what you agree to do. I hired a copy writer to do two jobs. We discussed the assignment, and the details were clearly put in writing in a purchase order. The contractor accepted the PO and project. Then, they missed the deadline, failed to submit a sample page as requested in the PO, and after they did the job, moaned profusely about how the job took her much longer than she anticipated. Then, she wanted to change the agreement terms after she turned the work in. This one takes the cake, the cupcakes and the pie. What a nightmare, they kicked them self to the curb.
These are three tragic scenarios especially in this challenged economy. All of these contractors are extremely talented but working with them was way too much work and the risk associated with partnering with them could jeopardize my relationship with my clients. And I’m not going there. All of these “kick to the curb” cases were completely avoidable and staring at a chunk of cement instead of anew business unnecessary.
This blog is called market your biz. How one acts after they do their marketing and get a client is still marketing.
Your points are valid and well substantiated with examples. The scenarios you describe are, unfortunately, all too common. The so-called soft skills in business are undervalued, but critical to good business relationships. You have hit the nails on their heads! We all need to work on our communication skills to be successful in the work environment and in our personal lives, and for most of us the work is ongoing.
I would like to make one negative observation about your blog. I have noticed quite a few grammar errors that I believe detract from the power of your message. I know this is a “blog” not a business presentation, but I think it should not be too time consuming or difficult to tidy up the message for full impact.