Sometimes I feel like Stephen Hawkins, sitting on an event horizon, as I discover and name an emerging phenomena I’ve termed ‘BHP’ – Black Hole People.
Like the discovery of cosmic black holes, I’ve observed a marked increase in recent time of BHP whom I’ve encountered in a variety of situations, the most common area being in business.
Consider this scenario: A long-term client with which you have a solid relationship, appoints a new manager who contacts you with an urgent request. You drop everything, visit site (which in my case is a good 90min drive), meet the manager, discuss the project and understand it has to be delivered ‘yesterday’. You head back to the office, make all the necessary enquiries, collect prices, compile a quotation (which takes about a week), all the while advising the customer out of professional courtesy that you’re ‘progressing’ and letting them know when to expect this most urgent of proposals.
Finally it all comes together, with your week of thinking, discussing, analysing, slicing and dicing, articulated in electronic PDF and you press the ‘Send’ button.
…. crickets …
After four weeks of polite phone messages, emails, voice-mails, calling the managers’ colleagues to see if the manager is actually still alive ….. more silence …
Or you’re looking for a job, see several ads with various agencies (or the HR department itself), and you fire off that much-loved, polished and refined CV, which articulately explains why you fit all the published criteria and would like them to be your next place of work.
…. crickets …
After repeated emails, messages and not even a “we’ll get back to you”, you give up, understandably disheartened.
Or a ‘friend’ who gets busy, makes repeated promises to call you, meet you, have coffee/dinner/brunch with you, yet after weeks of you leaving messages via various media makes it clear through any lack of response that you don’t rate the 5 seconds (out of 86,400 in a day) that it takes to type, “Flat out, call you in 2 weeks”, and you’re left wondering if it’s time to change your deodorant or mouthwash?
Or the peer at work who has been there much longer than you, whose urgent advice you need to progress a deal for the company you both work for, yet after emailing and calling and leaving messages, simply refuses to respond.
If any of these situations ring a bell, you can be sure BHP are, unfortunately, active in your life!
The very nature of BHP is that like a black hole, nothing, zip, zero, nada, bugger-all comes back so there’s no opportunity for dialog and therefore no opportunity whatsoever to form any thread of a relationship.
I haven’t yet found a solution other than to do a u-turn and get on with Life, before you too get sucked into the event horizon, past the point of no economic return.
However, in the wise words of Ghandi about ‘being the change’, there is something you can do and that is a mantra that has served me exceptionally well: always respond.
I don’t mean to the penis enlargement ad or the Nigerian money scam.
However, if for example someone sends you a well composed, intelligent and respectful email and it’s clear they’ve done their homework on you and your company by offering you a service that you might require but don’t need, a simple and polite ‘no thanks’ does several things:
- It closes the loop and lets the sender know you’ve read, understood, evaluated and concluded they can be of no assistance
- You don’t hear from them again and so don’t waste your valuable time
- They move on to the next client and don’t waste their valuable time
- The sender is so used to being ignored that a response is seen as a mini-miracle and so the sender is grateful
- You receive their gratitude whether you know it or not … equals good karma!
The corollary of not responding is:
- You scan the first email, dismiss it and delete it
- You receive a follow-up email which you scan then delete
- Depending on the tenacity or efficiency of their (now) automated sales funnel, you may get several more …
- They get frustrated by your lack of response and whether you know it or not, you receive their frustration
- You get frustrated by them continuing to send you emails that you don’t want!
Bad Karma and stress.
We might claim that we don’t have the time to respond, yet somehow we find many more times the time to scan and delete on multiple occasions, than it would take to respond and say ‘no thanks’ in the first place!
False economy really.