I’ve been in business 35 years, and I know breakdowns in business courtesy happen all the time. But, recently I wanted to get in a certain prospect’s face and yell, “I’m really MAD at you!”
The situation reminded me of a book I used to read to my son in the early 1990’s.
“Barton” was about four years old then, and loved for me to read him a little book called, I’m Mad at You. The book featured Fozzie Bear and Kermit the Frog, and was published by Muppet Press.
“Read it again, Dad,” Barton would always say. So, after many readings, we BOTH learned a great life lesson from that little children’s book.
As the story goes, Fozzie and Kermit planned a Saturday trip together to a museum to see the dinosaurs. Fozzie was to meet Kermit at his house, so they could walk to the museum together. Fozzie was SO excited, he could barely contain himself. Finally, the next Saturday dawned, and Fozzie couldn’t wait to get to Kermit’s house. But, when he arrived, Kermit was nowhere to be found. Disappointed, Fozzie waited around a long time, but his little green friend never showed up. Fozzie Bear got worried and decided to search for Kermit in all their usual haunts. He went all over town, asking all their friends if they had seen Kermit. Fozzie finally found Kermit playing with some other friends, acting as if nothing was wrong.
Fozzie Bear asked Kermit if he’d forgotten their museum trip, and Kermit told a fib. “I thought our visit was set for the next Saturday, not THIS one!” But, Fozzie knew better, because he’d written it down on his calendar. It was all he had been able to think about for the past week. After no small disagreement with Kermit, Fozzie couldn’t help stewing about it all week long. So, Fozzie Bear’s anger started building and building and building to a boiling point.
Fozzie’s Anger Boils Over
After Fozzie Bear could stand it no longer, he went to Kermit’s house to confront him. When he arrived, Kermit was acting a little funny, and Fozzie blurted out, “I’M MAD AT YOU.” He told Kermit how it had affected him all week long. Finally, after seeing how he had upset his friend Fozzie, Kermit decided to come clean. He admitted he had lied to Fozzie, and that he’d known the real date of the museum visit all along. He confessed that he’d had another offer, to do something he thought would be “more fun.” Kermit knew he had been selfish and thoughtless about his friend, and he said, “I’m sorry!”
This little book taught my young son a very important life lesson in courtesy, and later business courtesy.
Disappointing Business Professionals
It can be tedious, dealing with certain so-called business professionals who seem to lack what used to be called, common courtesy.
How hard is it to take ten seconds to reply to even a first-time business caller, with a simple message. Just a simple “No, thanks!” or Not interested” is all that’s needed. Those who won’t return a phone call from someone they actually know is even more disappointing! How business-like, HOW FRIENDLY, is that!?
I’m not talking about someone having to respond to every COLD call, or SPAM emails. I’m talking about calls or emails concerning topics they know about and shouldn’t be surprised to receive.
It’s especially irritating when a business person has reached out to us, and asks us to follow up, or requests certain information. Then, they go completely silent, without any regard to a fellow business person’s time spent in getting them the requested information.
How disappointing is it to get “dead air” after someone signs up for a free demo video, and a follow-up call is ignored? It would take just a few seconds to click the reply button and type “not interested.” Or, if interested (but too busy to respond at this time), to simply reply as such. Nice, to maybe add, “Please contact us in a month or so!”
It’s a simple thing really! And it’s the respectful thing to do for another business professional. I know people make excuses for this behavior, because of Internet abuse by some. But, again, I’m not talking about interruptions from cold calls and spam emails. There is NO excuse, in my book, for being disrespectful to fellow business professionals just doing what they do—conducting business!
Lessons Learned from the Mouths of Babes
When business professionals decide they’re not interested in what another has to offer or promote, they should have the courtesy to say so—courteously! In my book, not showing business courtesy to another professional is cowardly, lazy, thoughtless and selfish, just like Kermit was to Fossie. They apparently have little regard for wasting another business professional’s time and energy.
Let me state one more time for the sympathizers of bad manners, this is about people who contact people legitimately.
If so-called professional business folks are too busy to take ten seconds to reply to someone, they are obviously lacking order, and need systems in the worst way! They might also want to sign up for a course on good manners and professional courtesy. They may run into “Kermit” there.
Better yet, they might read a good children’s book titled, “I’m Mad at You!” They may learn from babes, it’s never too late to say, “I’m sorry!”
Did I mention? Great systems work!