July 6, 2006

Making New Rules

When I started my business career, a Sales VP I worked for gave me great advice. That advice pertained to the rules of sales. For example one of his rules was that if you've waited 10 minutes past the appointed time of a meeting you need to leave, even if if the person showed up 10 seconds past 10 minutes.

The rationale was that your time is valuable and it you don't treat it as such your client would not respect you. By the way most of his rules, pertained to meetings with customers. To this day many years later I still employ this rule. It works. The client gains new found respect and great things happen.

But what if the meeting was called by someone else and rescheduled the "day of" at the last minute? My VP didn't have a rule for this case. Probably because these things never happened to senior exec's. But it happens to me and probably to you too.

So what do you do? Forget the client and move on or forgive, forget and reschedule? I think there was a New York Times article where someone identified the last minute meeting cancellation as a good thing...found time. I suppose there is always something that can be done with the time gained.

I have to admit I'm more of the forgive and reschedule type. But lately I think I need to add to the base of rules. So Skip, if you're out there, here's some rules to add to the mix:

  1. If a meeting gets rescheduled twice, never confirm your attendance for the third one since the odds are high that it won't be held;
  2. If the person you're meeting with, doesn't get up to greet you, end the meeting as early as you can because they're not taking you seriously;
  3. If you arrive at a meeting in progress to make a presentation, and the attendees have their laptops open. Assume they won't retain a thing of what you say. Just make sure you send a follow up email, they'll remember the email;
  4. When you make a cold call and the person you're talking to says they'll call you back...they won't...move to the next one.

Feel free to add your own rules.

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