This is a good post on Selling Power’s blog by a chap called Oren Klaff. It’s well worth reading if you travel to prospects for meetings and have had the experience of the top dog that you’ve come to see not turning up.
The basic premise is that if, as is termed here, Mr Big fails to show, then you leave. The process put forward to enact this is a good one, and the suggestion to reconvene at your place is also cheekily inspired.
I have rarely encountered this impoliteness. In fact, I heard about it in the early Nineties before it ever happened to me. One of my friends selling software was waiting for a pre-arranged initial one-hour meet with the chief bean counter at a new prospect.
He’d built in a bit of slack into his own diary, but after hanging around in reception for ages, he realised he was in danger of being late for his next appointment. He gave it the half-hour over-run he’d allotted for such eventuality at the back-end, but then had to split.
He told the secretary that he’d waited too long, so asked that she inform her boss that he was off. He gave her his card, and suggested that the no-show ring him ‘if it was important enough’.
As he walked across the car park, the guy came out the building and ran after him. He apologised profusely. And then went on to hugely qualify himself in. He even said he’d got the money and the pressing need to spend it.
This tale influenced my own approach when faced with someone senior not rocking up. I can certainly vouch for the impact the blogger recounts when you’re left with a roomful of underlings and head for the door.
Interestingly, something similar took place with me last only a few months ago with a flavour of this impending disaster. The top man was running late, so sent a message that we start without him. I was there as an adviser, and was very much against this. Yet everyone urged a start. It proved to be the nightmare I’d foretold. It didn’t give me any pleasure to hear people say ‘I told ’em so’.
Never conduct a meeting without the top brass there. And never let their tardy timekeeping trump your schedule.