ImportantHave you ever had a vendor who thought they were too busy to service your business properly?

I did and I fired the company last month.

I have been a social entrepreneur and businessperson for the better part of my life and common manners still play a part in business.

Now, I am one of those who advocate and supports change and the “new” way of doing things. I am all for change and innovation, but I am also someone who believes in solid and good fundamental business principles and common courtesy.

Last month a vendor took a call from my assistant. This particular vendor always seemed too busy to properly service our account, which was a major piece of business for them.

Have you ever had that feeling in business when a supplier tells you all the things you want to hear and once they get your business, all of the sudden they are on to the next sale and the customer service somehow gets lost?

I have been in sales all my life and sometimes businesses forget that sales are earned and not given and sales does not close the moment the contract is signed. A good business wants to excel at customer service so their clients become repeat customers and they can get referrals.

When my assistant returned to my office and told me that this particular vendor had once again been too busy, this time by taking a cell phone call during the course of an important discussion, I had enough. Time is money and if my team and I are wasting time, then we are losing money.

I picked up the telephone and informed the vendor that they were fired effective immediately.

Here’s the deal in business. You need to pay attention.

Customers, prospective clients, staff people, management, etc. anyone you come in contact with will be making a judgment if you are so “busy” and “important” to not pay attention to them because you have a fascination with your cell phone. Taking calls, unless they are a critical emergency or you have informed the person on the other side in advance that you are expecting a call is just plain rude and shows a lack of common courtesy and business understanding. Texting is just as impolite and sometimes even more so because it tends to go on much longer.

I have been a CEO of major multinational corporations and I have been in meetings with them. If you have had this opportunity to be in a discussion with a high-powered and high profile executive you will notice that they do not get on the telephone or play with their mobile devices while they are speaking to you.


Again. They know time is money and time is very precious. They want to make sure their time is used as effectively and efficiently as possible, so they are not going to waste it chained unnecessarily to their mobile devices.

And, they also understand that in order to be successful, they need to be focused and courteous. It doesn’t mean the meeting won’t be challenging, but you will always have their full attention.

So, next time you feel tempted to pick up your cell phone during a meeting to send a quick text or answer that call, take it from me, resist the urge. You may never know if that action will come back to bite you, just as it did with the vendor who lost tens of thousands of my dollars.


© 2015 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.