Lessons Learned From Being Ignored

I’m fickle. I’m particular. Or maybe,  I’m just smart. At least I thought I was.

Four weeks ago, I came across three, long-term opportunities. Some had elements that were out of my area of expertise. I needed a partner. The opportunities weren’t huge, but I wanted to test the waters with a new partner before bringing him bigger projects. I had several choices at my disposal and decided to go local and support one of Boise’s best. We met, talked and I was assured that I’d get a proposal in three days. Excited, I wrote a follow-up note to thank him for his time. Three days passed and the proposal didn’t show. I sent an e-mail inquiry — maybe he was running behind. Nothing. The following Monday I called and was sent to voicemail. I left a message. No response. Where did I go wrong? Was I getting the blowoff? Or is he too busy to respond (impossible since he’s posting Tweets and updating his Facebook)?

I’ve learned three lessons here and I’m smarter for it — partnering requires trust; hire hard to manage easy; and never ignore your customers. As for trust, my failed partner-to-be clearly demonstrated how he’d treat my valued clients in the future. Partnering’s a lot like hiring — interview hard to manage easy. My new partner is getting more questions than he expected. And no matter how successful you are, you do not ignore new or existing customers. You never know how those relationships will blossom into something great for all.

How would you have handle a situation like this?

3 Comments on “Lessons Learned From Being Ignored

  1. Interesting…had this discussion the other day and heard of an entity in Eagle who specializes in counseling prospective partnership individuals in the same format as marriage counseling. The intent is to seek upfront whether the partnership will survive based on questions and answers. I have heard that the interview process can get very emotional…a novel idea.

  2. I think you were smart to move on. I have to say, though, that it’s just possible that something came up that prevented your would-be partner from carrying through. It’s hard to know what’s happening with a person who doesn’t respond. He may be irresponsible or he could be having trouble you don’t know about (although if he’s tweeting, that seems doubtful). In any case, it’s lucky you quickly understood the upspoken message that he wouldn’t have been someone you could trust to treat your customers well. I hope your new partnership flourishes.

    • Thanks for your comments on this. I’ve recently had conversations with others about partnering. One of my customers encourages their customers to partner and leverage each others best practices, competencies, etc. What resonates with me, based on our talks, is the need for due diligence and that the partnership won’t happen overnight. You have to ask lots of questions, talk with their customers/references, and really get to know them before that final agreement/handshake. And despite peoples’ best efforts, they find that those well-investigated partnerships still carry a risk of failure. But not all’s lost — I’ve heard that usually a simple phone call between principals can sort things out.

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