I have lots of meetings. I meet with prospective Corporate Members, I meet with job seekers, I engage with vendors, I talk to entrepreneurs. I make it a point to learn something from each interaction that I have.
Recently I met with a company who was trying to sell me on their product. I had some additional appointments in the vicinity of their location, so I asked to meet at their office. The meeting was scheduled for 8:00 a.m., I arrived about ten minutes early. The lobby was open so I took a seat to await the arrival of the prospective vendor. Around 8:10 the gentleman that I was anticipating rushed through the door, papers spilling out of his briefcase, tie untied, obviously very discombobulated. I understand that things happen, and people run late occasionally, so I didn’t comment. He greeted me and we proceeded into his office and sat down. He began shuffling papers around on his desk, attempting to make room for us to conduct our business. As he continued his housekeeping, I examined the surroundings. I noticed that the man’s suit was wrinkled, as though he had grabbed it from a hamper on his way out of the door. There were piles and stacks of “stuff” surrounding the small office sitting on the floor or atop file cabinets that were either unused or overfull. When we began our conversation, it was evident that he hadn’t prepared for our meeting. I found myself answering questions that had been asked at our last encounter; in addition, it was as though he hadn’t acted on any of the information that I had previously provided. Quite obviously I had wasted my morning and there was a horrible impression left from that interaction.
My first inclination was to make a quick judgment based on my experience, however I decided to make this a learning opportunity instead. I pondered how I felt when I was early, but my prospective vendor did not respect my time. It caused me to consider the importance of making my clients feel valued. I then thought about the negative sensation that I had in the office. Instead of having a sense of calm, I felt very uncomfortable. Had this person known me at all, he would have been aware of the great appreciation I have for a neat office! My thoughts immediately went to the type of atmosphere I want to create for my customers. If I felt uneasy in those surroundings, I am sure others have had the same experience. I wonder how much business is lost because of the experience we provide (or fail to provide) for our potential clients. What are you doing to create an environment conducive for great experiences in your business? Even in a virtual environment, you create the ambiance that may inspire your prospective clients to buy, your potential employees to accept your offer, or your interviewer to select you. The time you take to prepare for a meeting and obtain knowledge of the person you will be connecting with will speak volumes to them concerning your desire to meet their needs.
I may not do business with the individual to met with last week, but I will never forget the experience. I gained a whole new appreciation for the Golden Rule. I will create the environment for my clients that I hope companies will create for me. Find out what your clients, want and need then give it to them; otherwise be willing to refer them to a company who will. They will respect you more and will come back when they have a need you are able to meet. Although I may not do business with my “teacher” from last week, I will provide feedback (to them – not to the world) as to why I made a decision to go elsewhere. When you receive criticism, don’t take it personally, but use it as an opportunity for growth and to repair areas of your business or life that might need attention. Use each encounter as an opportunity to get better; and don’t let the negative feedback that might come periodically make you bitter. As my mentor says, ‘When you know better, you can do better”. Make a decision today to be a lifelong learner.
Tish Times is the owner and Chief Executive Officer of HireTimes Career Group. Tish is an expert on career and business redesign. To receive her articles on Working Your Passion, confidence building for career and business strategies, and mindset change, visit www.hiretimescg.com and join the mailing list. For coaching or speaking engagements; contact 877-546-7408 or firstname.lastname@example.org.