As we come upon the holiday season and the impending new year, it's inevitable that we reflect on the passing of time. Time is our most precious commodity, right? Isn't that the saying? You certainly can't get time back once it's gone. It goes faster than you think and it's the one thing that we take most for granted when we're young. That's why it's so frustrating when people waste it.
If there is one thing I wish for in the coming year, it is that people will stop wasting my time, in whatever capacity we're talking about.
One reason it's so frustrating is because it is so hard to prevent. We just don't know until we're in it as to whether a person or an endeavor is worth devoting our time and energy to. I feel like I've been burned so many times by tire kickers, that half my day is devoted to circumventing this. I don't get on business calls unless I need to, I avoid pointless meetings, and prefer to handle issues via email whenever possible. So much of our work time is devoted to chit chat, meetings, or redundant questions that are, quite frankly, unnecessary.
Whenever I pitch a potential client, I do my due diligence to the point that I don't even want to talk or meet further unless there's a real bid opportunity there. This is probably a best practice regardless of the circumstances, but my real motivation is that I cannot bear to have anymore of my time wasted. If you're not ready to buy, I'm not ready to talk.
I realize that this flies in the face of the conventional wisdom regarding relationship building and cultivating seeds. While there's some merit to doing all of that, I've come to believe it's only worth doing when there is a substantive potential business opportunity there.
I know there are those who strongly disagree with me about this, but I stand by it. When you are in process of building a book of business, particularly for your own business, no one else but you is going to have your back in terms of knowing when endeavors are worthwhile. You can't be afraid to say no when your gut tells you something is not worth it. Whether someone or something is too high maintenance, too non-committal, or too time consuming, you have to listen to that voice that tells you it's time to move on.
You have to have the courage to let people know, whether it's directly or more subtly, to stop wasting your time. You deserve better - we all do.
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