Networking Faux Pas #2: THE DAMAGE DONE

SITUATION

My client Jack (not his real name) was a successful investment researcher with very strong technological capabilities. Jack wanted to refocus his career towards software business development.

A previous client, Roger (not his real name), had recently landed at a high growth software services firm. Roger was doing extremely well at this company and I knew he’d be willing to meet Jack.

I set up a virtual introduction and was thrilled to hear that Roger and Jack connected very quickly through email and were scheduled to meet.

Towards the end of the day of the alleged meeting, I sent Roger a quick email to see how the meeting went. Roger immediately responded and said, “Your client stood me up and didn’t even call. What kind of guy is this? I’m ticked off. Not a very good first impression.”

This didn’t seem like it made sense. I was confused and somewhat concerned. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I called Jack to hear what happened. He didn’t answer his phone. I left a concerned message.

A few hours later Jack sent an email and said, “I’m fine. I just got tied up with driving my kids to school and couldn’t make it. I called and rescheduled and apologized – what more does he want?”

REPUTATION

I finally reached Jack live on the phone. He acted as if it was no big deal and he assumed everything was fine because he had rescheduled.

It turns out that Jack did call to reschedule, but he called a few hours after the scheduled time. Essentially Roger was correct – he DID get stood up!

I was furious. Not only did Jack lose all credibility with a person he hadn’t even met yet, but he had imposed a black mark against my reputation. Not good.

Could Jack recoup his losses? Not likely. His chance was gone.

Would I ever introduce him to another one of my contacts? No. Not because he couldn’t make it to the appointment – stuff happens. But Jack used very poor judgment in how he handled the situation from every angle.

SUGGESTION

Jack should have called Roger immediately upon realizing that he wasn’t going to be able to keep his commitment.

We all know what it’s like to juggle personal issues and business commitments. Sometimes we have to put our family first – everybody understands that. But letting Roger wait for several hours before contacting him was a major faux pas.

Not only did Jack seem inconsiderate and rude, but he put me in a very awkward position. On top of all this, he was flip and dismissive when asked about the situation.

First impressions stick like glue. Common courtesy and respecting others’ time seem simple enough, yet some highly experienced people can’t get it right.

Treat contacts like gold – for indeed, they are extremely valuable.

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One Response

  1. Some people really are “tone deaf” about the impressions they can give. A friend of mine has that pet-peeve about mentoring programs, which he suggests are more like “find me a job” programs.

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