Inspiring Confidence

A local business owner shared an interesting experience with me recently. She received an inquiry through her company’s website. Would she be interested in a certain niche service for her business? Her interest was piqued enough to want additional information and she thought a phone call would be helpful.  So, she conferred with her business partner and then responded to the email suggesting a phone call with the individual who contacted her.

Now you know how difficult it is to coordinate a call among three people. Here’s what happened next:  After numerous emails among the three, a call was finally arranged with Billy, the business developer who’d sent the inquiry. The next day, Billy sent an email advising that the call would be with Justin, the founder, because Justin took all new business development calls. Strange, but okay thought the partners.  Justin tried to join a call on Tuesday, but the call was scheduled for Friday because Tuesday didn’t work for the partners. Justin wasn’t available on Friday, the day arranged by Billy.  Confused yet? They sure were. They asked Justin to provide available days and times for a call.  He took two weeks to respond.  

There’s an old saying — too many cooks spoil the broth. Justin sure spoiled a potential business opportunity for his firm for a number of reasons:

  • Lack of clear communication — when would the call take place,
  • Lack of clear expectations — with whom would the call take place; and
  • Lack of trust, at least that’s what the partners perceived — didn’t he trust Billy to take an initial call with potential clients?

At this point, the partners had pretty much written off Justin and his firm. They were questioning if things were this difficult to get a simple call arranged, what would they encounter if they proceeded with a business arrangement? Simply stated, Justin hadn’t inspired confidence in himself or his firm.

Confidence, like trust, isn’t an event. It’s a process. Confidence and trust are something you build over time — with your employees, with your clients and customers and with your stakeholders.  Set expectations in the beginning of the business relationship and reinforce them. Have clear processes and communicate those processes early to everyone affected by them. You want your employees and your customers to be emotionally engaged in a positive way.  The emotional engagement the partners in this story experienced was confusion.  Justin’s going to have to work hard to change that.

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