Please Just Respond

I know you don’t want to say no. I know when I call and ask you for something—an appointment, a favor, a return phone call—that I may not be the most important priority for you.

I understand. I really do.

What I don’t understand is how you can ignore me completely. I’m probably not a complete stranger, because I rarely “cold call” people either on the phone or through email. If I am a stranger to you, it’s most likely that I’m a friend or associate of someone you know. So in some way we have been professionally introduced or referred, and in most cases I have reason to believe that you may benefit from our interaction.

And I know you’re busy. I understand. I really do. But doesn’t it feel lousy to have all those emails and phone calls lodged in your in-boxes without handling them in some way? Wouldn’t it be better for both of us if you said, “Thanks for your call (or email), Jim. I have no interest in your product at this time.”

In fact, you don’t even have to say “at this time.” It’s really okay with me if you say, “There is no scenario in which I would have interest in your product or service. Thanks for contacting me, and please don’t contact me further on this matter.” It takes a few more seconds of your time but it insures I won’t bother you again with a repeated request.

That may sound harsh – but from my end of the transaction, I’d much rather hear that, than hear nothing. Learn to say no. It’s a valuable skill – and it actually serves me as I build my network and my business.

Oh, and by the way—if I don’t hear back, I’ll probably assume that I just need to ramp up the volume and you’ll end up with three or four messages instead of the one you should have said no to in the first place.

About the Author

Jim Hessler
Jim Hessler bootstrapped his way from retail work into a successful career as salesman, sales manager, Fortune 500 executive, and corporate turnaround engineer. Along the way, he developed The Leadership Platform, a proven model for training managers to become sustainably better leaders. It became the basis of his leadership primer, Land On Your Feet, Not On Your Face: A Guild to Building Your Leadership Platform. Jim is the founder of Path Forward Leadership Development Services.

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