I had a conference call with a marketing firm today. They were looking for someone to do some business training for them. The call was set up after a couple of very pleasant conversations with the office manager and the submission of a written, then revised proposal.

A conference was required. Naturally, the management team wasn’t organized enough to attend the first call they set up and canceled at the last minute.

So today we were set for the rescheduled big call. Now let me say, I began to have my doubts about this company after the poor communication about what they really wanted taught. It gives me pause when it takes two proposals and numerous phone conversations and then a management committee to make a rather simple decision. We were talking about two days of training, not a million dollar culture change—which they need.

Everyone at their end actually made it to the call this time but they let me know upfront that the time was very limited because of another call scheduled immediately following the call with me. The assistant to the manager then proceeded to babble some unrelated nonsense about their “tiers of competency”. So will I will need to plan for different “tiers of competency”? No, everyone will be at the same level. Okay, now tell us exactly what you will do for these two days. Oh, time is up. Gotta go.

I decided to withdraw from this project and gladly let someone else have the headache of dealing with this disorganized and rude management team.

Oddly, this is a marketing company! I would bet they don’t treat clients or prospects the way they treated me. I would also bet they are not a very good marketing company. Big, sure. Good? I doubt it.

You see folks, you can’t be that lousy at buying and yet be good at selling. You can’t fool people with fake sincerity.

I felt a lot of relief by getting out from under this one. I work hard for my clients and I do a good job. It’s very common for people to add to my invoices and pay more than I bill. I frequently hear comments like, “you did come through for us and we saw how much you put into our project”. I didn’t need, and after working with these people, didn’t want their business. Nor would I ever recommend them to anyone. I won’t work with companies I personally couldn’t recommend.

The take away here isn’t about saying no to some projects. I made that point in the last post.

What I want you to see is this: when management sees themselves as above others, that’s a cover for incompetent management. Things won’t go well. They never do in these cases. And the incompetent management will never take responsibility—so companies like this are always playing a blame game.

None of us are too important to treat people rudely. If you believe you are that important, your success is going to be very limited. Word gets around these days.

Chris Reich, Business Advice Blog