This week I’ve met a few bullies… one in particular caught me so off guard I didn’t realize I was bullied until later that day. And Dr. Hubs stepped in and saved the day so to speak. I need to tell you about these bullies so you can check yourself in your business tactics AND know how to respond when you have a business bully.
The first bully I met this week was polite and but very pushy. When I say pushy I mean he did not follow our usual protocol for pitching his services to us. We try to field all business inquiries (marketing, products, new technology, etc) through me via email. Then I’m able to quickly reject or request more information. This person refused to do that. Somehow he got my cell phone number and then he kept me on the phone for over an hour. And then he showed up to our office and took up an hour of our staffs time too. Then another call to me to ask for an in-person meeting to pitch me an business deal I already knew we didn’t want. Basically he wasted 3 hours of time pitching a service to me that I was very clear I did not want or need. Furthermore this bully name-dropped like he was a Hollywood agent. I lost track of how many people he mentioned to me who he’s ‘partnered with’. I also lost track of how many times I mentioned to him that our business and our industry cannot be compared to a home decor store or restaurant. This type of bully shall be named the “Ego-Bully”. He (might) be able to connect you with a lot of business. He (might) be able to deliver on all his promises. But he also (might) be blowing a lot of smoke up you know where.
The second bully was less obvious (at least at first) and then got super aggressive with me when we questioned a few things. It all started with a phone call, which in retrospect was a cold call that didn’t sound like a cold call, it sounded like they were calling from the company we already use. They had great news about the rates we pay for our credit card processing…and guess what our rates will drop, they are sending someone to our office just to sign some papers so we can be included. Then a nicely dressed man shows up and basically runs the numbers and says ‘great well your rates are basically those of what the big boys (home depot, best buy) pay…you’re included in this 6% of small business…blah blah blah…’ I say great, I’m so happy we get to save some money. I sign a paper not knowing what it really was. And then go home. Then I get a call from our current credit card processing rep asking me a question about something else and I mention I met someone from his company today and we got locked into different rates. He said ‘Heather that’s a scam’. I went from zero to Springer in 60 seconds. I was freaking out. Dr. Hubs walked in just as I started freaking out and just took over. He emailed and called the Bully, asked some specific questions, got a bunch of ‘words’ sent back but no real answers to his specific questions. Then I got this email the next day:
“We actually provided him with everything he requested to be warm and fuzzy, only to get an email stating he needs to do some more digging.
This is not how we do business and frankly, I dont like the way this encouter has made me feel. We are an honorable company and should not have to validate that because your husband thinks its too good to be true.
Unless the rhetoric is toned down considerably, we will be withdrawing the offer.”
This guy was a “Bi-Polar Bully”….all ‘warm and fuzzy’ then when challenged he got really mean and nasty. Actually his boss called Dr. Hubs and was extremely rude too. This was all because Dr. Hubs asked for a referral, a call from a happy client in the medical industry.
This whole week with bullies closing in really shook me up. I was crying on the floor of the kitchen while the kids played outside. I actually had dreams and fears that the Bi-Polar Bully would somehow drain our bank accounts. Nobody deserves to have fears like that after a business meeting!
So how have we dealt with these bullies this week? Well in short with kindness and respect. As much as I want to tell them to go to hell I know that our business and brand is worth more that those words. We have to walk away with our heads higher and not caring that we lost them a ‘sale’. There will be other sales for those bullies…they will manipulate other people into believing their pitch.
I called the Ego-Bully and left a message thanking him for his time and that we just weren’t ready to explore his marketing avenue. Even the Bi-Polar Bully got a simple email from me stating that we will not be doing business with him and he should withdraw his offer. I just left it at that.
at the end of the day our business must be Classy not Trashy.