Most of the emails and calls I receive contain some type of request for business assistance. It is a pleasure to respond to people who reach out in a professional way, showing respect for my experience and how joining IBN or working with me personally or in a MasterMind or group coaching setting, can enhance their lives.
It’s not such a pleasure to receive presumptuous requests that reflect an entitlement mentality. I know I’m not the only person who feels this way because my colleagues express similar sentiments. I thought long and hard about blogging about it though, because I don’t want to come across as uppity or uncaring. I am neither. But I am a business mentor and coach, and part of my life mission involves training other business women (and men, because men need this too). I cannot fulfill that mission if I don’t tell the truth about how important it is to approach your professional colleagues in a respectful manner, especially when you want something from them. If you are a business person approaching another business person to seek help or assistance of any kind, here’s how NOT to get what you want.
Start asking for help before tendering a proper greeting
Take two seconds out of your life to show that you have manners. Even if you don’t get what you want, it’s good practice to refuse to give in to the temptation to be curt. It comes across on email and on the phone as being rude, and that’s exactly how NOT to get what you want, in life and in business. Greet the person and state who you are, then move forward with what you need and want.
Attempt to obtain a benefit you are not entitled to
If what you are buying has two tiers of pricing, one for members or regular customers and one for everyone else, don’t pretend to be a regular customer when you are everyone else and try to pay the lower price. (Do you think we aren’t paying attention to such details?) We business people tend to notice things like that. Trying to game the system doesn’t make you look good as a fellow entrepreneur. It makes you look cheap and lazy, and like you don’t want to pay your way.
Tweet a request that should be handled privately
It amazes me when I see people Tweet a public request (which reads like a demand) that someone they follow should write a review of their newly published book, or Tweet about their book, or respond to them in some way on Twitter. When I see that, I often wonder how the person being “stalked” doesn’t just respond by sending a PayPal invoice for an ad, and then Tweeting stuff after the bill is paid. Honestly.
Just because you follow someone on Twitter, or even when they follow you back, or even if you have exchanged a few Tweets now and then, doesn’t mean you should feel comfortable sending them a request (public especially) to ReTweet your stuff. Everyone business person on Twitter who is worth communicating with has a link on their profile page which will get you to their email address or a form you can use to connect with them. If you want someone’s help, use the process they have set up to help you.
Don’t be the lazy, presumptuous person who tries to skirt around a business person’s requested professional protocol. Yes, it might take all of 5 or 10 minutes to find out how to send the person an email. And yes, it’s true that they may ignore you. Cry me a river. Nothing is free and if you want something, it’s your job to pursue the best avenue that will get you what you want. Being demanding on Twitter is not it.
And one more thing. Even if you do extract what you want, it may do you some short term good, but it will pretty much seal the deal in terms of a future relationship with the person you bribed/embarrassed into giving you want you want.
Show rudeness on a person’s FaceBook Page
If you have a beef with someone’s policy or something they have done to you, take it up privately. Send an email, make a phone call, or whatever. But don’t show up on their FaceBook Page with a rude and embarrassing monologue about how awful they are and how you’ll never do business with them again. If FaceBook or Twitter is your last resort for customer service issues, you may have to go that route. But you don’t have to be unkind or cruel.
Stalk people to get them to vote for you
If you apply for a business competition, don’t pepper the universe and people’s FaceBook Pages and Twitter streams with repeated requests to vote for you. Remember that you are not the only person in the contest, so chances are the people you are asking to vote for you are getting requests from dozens of people just like you.
Also, remember that most of these contests request that the people voting for you subscribe to some kind of email list. Not a lot of business owners need another “required” thing in their inbox these days. Some contests even require that people publicly Tweet or FaceBook their vote once it’s completed — or they make it hard to figure out how not to share. Enough already!
Use your own mailing list to solicit votes. Those are the people most likely to vote for you anyway — they already opt into your newsletter. Don’t have a list? Well, again, cry me a river. Get one. (Gosh, that sounds so awful, but really, it’s your business — and there are some things you just have to do. Like market your business …)
Make a time-sensitive request that tries to turn your poor planning into their emergency
Don’t wait until the last minute to get ready for an event that you should have been planning for months, and then log onto Twitter or FaceBook (etc.), and demand that people help you hurry up and figure stuff out. I see quite a bit of this and it is precisely how to get people to not help you, and to avoid you in the future.
Add people to your email list without permission
One would think that this does not have to be mentioned, but it does. Do not do this. Bad business owner. Bad.
Request a phone call when an email will do
Don’t ask for a person’s valuable phone time, especially when the clear reason you are doing so is because you are too busy (lazy?) to type up a polite email message to make your request. I know your great new thing or the news you want to share or the question you have is urgent to you, but it’s not urgent to me. It can, however, become important to me — if you make the right approach. That starts with everything listed here, like using my name in an email or using polite greetings like, oh, say, “Hello,” when you call (as opposed to, “I am at your website and I have a question ….”
Know What I Mean?
If you’re a business owner, I know you know what I’m talking about here. Don’t you? You can’t deal with thousands of people a week for your business and not run into this type of stuff.
Questions: Do you have anything to add to this list? Am I being cruel? Uncaring? Like I’m, “all that and a bag of chips?”