Going dark. All salespeople have experienced this, no matter how good. You educate a potential client, you spend hours and hours with them answering questions, you create a relationship, and you truly seek to help them to earn your commission. And then it happens, they go dark. No contact. No return calls. No email reply. No nothing. It is eerie. You start to wonder what you did wrong. Did I say something wrong? Did I not return a phone call? I thought we were about to close a deal! Where did they go? Are they OK? Are they sick? Maybe they are just out of town, yes, that’s it, they are out of town. For three months? No, can’t be. After enough time you realize they went elsewhere with their business, likely to save a few dollars, and they feel guilty that they milked you for countless hours of free consultation and work only to go elsewhere to save a little. They went dark because they are too embarrassed to tell you directly that they have gone elsewhere after running you ragged.
Here is my issue, and I am obviously going to side with the salespeople since I am one: FIGURE OUT WHO YOU WANT TO WORK WITH FIRST, AND THEN USE THEM FOR HOURS AND HOURS, AND MONTHS AND MONTHS, AND MAKE THEM EARN THEIR FEE!
It is pure laziness to use a service provider only because they are professional enough to always return your calls, provide excellent information, and then only later decide that its time to shop price right before its time to commit. This problem happens so much, that if people would stop this abuse, the GDP would skyrocket 2% per quarter for a year, due to all the increased productivity by salespeople using their time for productive efforts instead of for clients who abuse them and then go dark. I’d guess I waste 15 hours a week, which is 780 hours a year, which is 19,500 hours over the 25 years I have worked as an adult. Do you have any idea how much money that 19,500 hours is worth? It’s a lot. I could retire on it.
Dear clients, a request from all service providers: Stop. Slow down. Think. Ask a lot of questions about experience, unique abilities, price, service, teamwork and background; and then make a choice. We have no problem with you going elsewhere for someone you did your research up front on and think is a better provider. But don’t go dark and go elsewhere with no explanation. Do the right thing and pick wisely up front. Then, and only then, should you start to ask a service provider questions and to do things for you.
And if you have used a service provider recently and gotten good information only to go elsewhere later, don’t go dark. Be professional, contact them and explain your actions, apologize for not deciding sooner. And if you think they deserve it, tell them you will remember them and will try and steer referrals their way in the future.