There is one thing I wish western culture learned from Eastern European folks, and it’s being more straightforward. I meet new people everyday. Quite a lot of those new connections can be potentially good for my business. Most of them won’t be. I don’t mind. It’s nobody’s fault. My product might not be right for you. You might be too busy to focus on implementing it at the moment. It might not be possible for us to cooperate because of some ‘political’ issues. It’s possible that you simply don’t like me. I don’t care, as long as you tell me now.
Quite often we end up talking to that Big Important Customer for 6 months, just to hear that ‘things have changed’ or ‘we need to focus elsewhere at the moment’, while the answer was obvious from the start. This is why I value the approach that Fred Destin once described in his blog post on The one-sentence e-mail turndown – a quick no is worth a lot more than a nice half year long ‘conversation’. But it’s a two sided issue – quite often we should move on if the dynamics of the new relationship is not performing the way it should be.
So please Mrs/Mr Important Customer, the next time you get a call from someone that wants to do business with you, and you’re not interested, just say no. You don’t have to be rude. People will understand (eventually). It will save them a lot of time, in which they can do quite a lot of new business. And if you’re the guy being told ‘no’ within first week of new business relationship – just be grateful and move on.
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