Day Old Bread and Doggie Bags Series
We have done business with a particular vendor for at least 8 years. In those 8 years, this vendor has rarely treated me with any respect.
Recently, I got it in my head to suggest we hire this vendor to do a special side project. There was logic to my thought process. If we didn’t hire this vendor to do the project the responsibility would fall upon me to do the task. I would not get paid for this extra effort—and this particular task is not my area of expertise. It made complete sense to hire an expert—and in this instance—that expert was this gruff vendor whose approach with me is rather condescending.
My boss liked the idea, contacted the vendor and he agreed to do the job. I sent a quick text message to the vendor expressing my thanks.
He responded immediately that he appreciated the extra money. I told him that I am all for contracting out certain projects instead of us having to bear the weight of the responsibility—especially when it is beyond our expertise.
It has taken this individual 8 years to realize that I am the customer. While I might not sign the checks—ironically enough I have far more influence on whether he gets additional jobs or not.
You can imagine his demeanor with me when he arrived on site to set up the project. He looked me in the eyes this time. He spoke to me with respect, courtesy and deference. He also mentioned he’d love to come in and help me with future projects I might have.
But the really jolting moment for me was when he asked how to pronounce my last name. I have known this vendor for years and not once did he bother to take interest in a simple courtesy of knowing how to pronounce my last name. I smiled and told him—and he repeated it to make sure he got it right.
The Dale Carnegie principle I used with this individual is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Speak in terms of the other person’s interests.
Let the other person save face.
Forget about the past.
The Dale Carnegie principle this vendor unwittingly practiced is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 6. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
Instead of focusing on the past negative experiences with this individual I let it go. I knew he was in need of extra work and I just happened to have it. I didn’t respond in an arrogant manner when after all these years, he finally asked how to pronounce my last name. Instead, I let the man save face. Frankly, I was touched.
When you take this approach you’ll find you’re far more productive because you don’t waste your energy on petty matters.