Over the decades of working and consulting in online and internet business, I’ve heard some pretty weird things coming from vendors. So whenever I come across behavior that just seems wrong, I try and make sure I file it in the “mistakes not to make” folder. Here are some things I know rub publishers the wrong way:
We’re Really Busy Right Now. I get it, who isn’t? But if I’m the customer (publisher) and I’m paying you (the vendor), WTF? If you’re too busy, maybe you’re understaffed which makes me wonder about your ability to scale. I get it, resources are limited across the board, but there are much better ways to handle this. How about, “I’ll have a schedule for this requested task to you by COB”. Then you can regroup, address bandwidth issues internally (and not in front of the client) and in responding, you’re providing them a solution
We’re Getting Too Many Emails. Literally, I had a vendor complain to keep them off email strings because they were getting too many. Boo-hoo. It’s the price for having customers. And who knows, you might actually learn something!
Here’s a Link. This is a classic response to a request for more information. What does it say about the vendor? They can’t take the time to answer you in their own words. Or they don’t understand the topic and hope you’ll figure it out for yourself. Not a satisfying experience to a customer.
What’s Your Business Reason for Doing This? This is really a nuance, but most often the intent behind the statement is “I don’t think your process is valid” or “I don’t want to do it and hope that I can talk you out of it”. Again, a nuance, but a much better way to getting the question out is to ask for an example to illustrate the request, or a “use case”. I know, I know, splitting hairs here, but words matter. Well, at least they did as of 2012.
I’ll Have to Get Back to You. I don’t object to hearing this once in a meeting, but if I heard it 3 times in the same meeting, which I have, I would think that this vendor is 1) not prepared for the meeting and 2) doesn’t know their own product. If the purpose of the meeting is to inform, be prepared to do so.
Is This Project Worth Our Time? Ahh, one of my favorites. During a new business pitch, asking if the project is worth their time because they are busy and have to prioritize their work. Honestly, part of the job is called business development. Sure, you might not get the business today, but you might tomorrow, or next year. And we should be building our customer relationships over time, not because we need to close out the quarter.
In closing, I’d just like to say that we should be thankful for being engaged in a client’s business, and not the other way around.