Respecting your prospect’s most valuable resource

Time.

So much has been written about time.

I believe it is our most precious resource, and that most people waste it. Which is why I get so damn mad when people waste mine.

People always say to me, “Wow, you are right on time!”

This annoys me when they say this. Because I am thinking, “Well, didn’t we agree on this time?”

My uncle always told the story that when he would show up for an medical appointment, he would leave after ten minutes if the doctor hadn’t seen him yet. His time was too valuable to sit around at the Doc’s convenience.

And it is because of this story that I have a ten minute rule: If someone is ten minutes late to a scheduled appointment, I move on. At my convenience, I later send an email requesting a reschedule.

This same uncle of mine would show up for social engagements at the time the invitation stipulated. So if a party invitation said “Open House; 5PM to 8PM,” he was there at 5PM sharp.

“But hey, no one shows up at 5PM,” someone would whine. And he’d respond, “Well, then why in hell does the invitation say 5PM?”

I’ll admit that as I’ve gotten older, I have become much more fanatical about my time. My greatest stressor is when someone, or something, wastes my time.

“Sorry I am late, traffic was a killer.”

Kiss my ass. You didn’t realize that with an 8AM appointment, you’d have to account for rush hour?

As a podcaster recording dozens of episodes per week, most of my week is arranged around a very tight schedule. And when a guest is even a few minutes late, often times I have to move on and reschedule.

It blows my mind when I’ve scheduled an interview for a guest at 1PM, and I receive a text at 1250PM saying, “Running late, be there around 115PM.”

There are dozens of guests over the last year or so that I never interviewed because this scenario occurred too many times.

As if your tardiness isn’t a problem for me. Honestly, it is insulting. Do you NOT respect my time? Do you realize that a busy media company like mine probably has a tight schedule with something arranged for 130PM that same day?

I am not there for YOUR convenience. We mutually agreed on a time, and frankly, I expect you to honor it.

I wouldn’t waste my time scheduling an appointment with you. If I agree to see you, this means I see real value in spending time with you. But don’t take advantage of me. Don’t take me for granted.

In today’s business world, FAR too many people take advantage of other people’s time. It is far too common a practice where people are perpetually late.

We are far too reckless in sending that easy text indicating we’ll be a few minutes late.

This is offensive, people. This demonstrates a lack of respect. This demonstrates a lack of caring. This demonstrates that you are taking advantage of people.

And trust me, this is hardly endearing.

I am not saying you are an evil person. But I am suggesting that you are not using your head, and perhaps acting a little selfish.

If you are in sales, and you are late to scheduled appointments with business prospects, you should wonder not why they aren’t doing business with you.

You should also appreciate and respect that every communication from you is an expectation of taking their time. This is important to understand, and acknowledge.

Remember, your prospects are busy people. They have a ton of stuff going on. Just like you do.

So when you send them follow-up communications, remember this takes valuable and limited time out of their day. If they don’t respond to you, it might mean they aren’t interested…

…but it more likely means they don’t have enough time.

So, I ask you to do two things:

1. Understand that. And be more patient. It might them a while to respond.

2. Make an effort to make your communications WORTH SPENDING TIME ON. Don’t waste this time with worthless drivel. Make it short, simple, AND HELPFUL.

Time is the only thing you can’t make more of. So, respect the time of others, and for goodness sakes, make more effort to protect YOUR valuable time.

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Drawing by Hugh.