Here’s an example of what a text book cannot teach, and only experience can. I rocked up at a prospect the other day. At the annointed hour, I was in attendance. The person with whom I’d hoped to meet however, was not even in the building.
I suspect what transpired was a simple diary mix-up. It could have been our side, it could have been theirs. Who knows. The meeting’s now re-scheduled for a couple of weeks.
My appointment maker insisted she’d sent a confirmation email (duly forwarded onto me) and never received any contrary communications. Yet when she subsequently spoke to the no-show, she accepted full culpability. “It must have been all my fault…” etc etc.
She did well to re-arrange and I explained that in future admitting to something that is simply not down to you, is absolutely not what you should do in such instance. I can see why the obvious natural reaction is often tempered. After all, where will saying “I cannot believe you didn’t bother to show up, how unprofessional is that! How would you feel if one of your prospects was similarly disrespectful?” get you. Of course, I don’t necessarily advocate that kind of confrontation.
I would though, advise that if you are not to blame, then don’t act as if you are. Even if you feel it’ll smooth your path towards what you want. You didn’t mess up, so maintain the high ground. And this can be done, crucially, without rubbing the other party’s nose in it. Remember, if you’re ever going to have a commerical relationship, it’ll surely be along the lines of equal partners. So be polite, but firm. By all means have the conversation which seeks to identify from where the mix-up emanated, but draw a swift line under it, and pin down your required next action.
Going blame-side always puts you on the back-foot. Equally, playing the blame-game gets you nowhere. Acting in a positive, professional manner gets you on that all-important even footing. After all, we all make mistakes, don’t we?