Shit Happens. Be Flexible.



Several years ago I was sitting in my car preparing to go into a particularly important meeting. It was the culmination of several weeks worth of work and I was there to finally close the deal and get a sign-off on the project. At the time, this was the largest deal of my career.


The customer and I previously agreed to meet at his office at 9am sharp that day. When I arrived, he wasn’t in. Confused, I confirmed our meeting with the receptionist. She said it was in his calendar but he wasn't in the office. I decided to wait.


One hour passed. Then two hours passed. Still no sign of him. Three hours passed. It was lunchtime and I was convinced this guy was a no-show. Just then, he came through the front door with another employee and he immediately noticed me waiting. “We had a 9am, didn’t we?” he said.


“Yep.” I said.


“I’m so sorry - I was called away to a jobsite…” he began to explain.


“No problem” I interrupted, “Shit happens. Do you have a few minutes to meet now?”


Twenty-five minutes later I walked out of his office with a signed contract and a purchase order.


Our customers are not our customers. They are people, and they have other responsibilities beyond hearing your pitch. Be flexible and understanding with them, and it will be returned in spades.


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