To think that the ex-potential client is a complete nutbag and I haven't done anything wrong?

(60 Posts)

Got a number of a business associate of mine to give a call to her client as they might need my services. Spoke on Sat, well left a voicemail, than she called back and left a voicemail too as I didn't hear it. she said it would be great to have a chat in the evening. that was early-ish afternoon.

at 6ish I texted her that I would only be able to talk after 8.30pm and asked whether it's not too late. No response, OK I thought. she's busy. Then at 7.30pm I texted again saying I actually finished earlier and can call now but asked what she prefers. No response. I know there were some issues with the network she was on so I assumed that was it.

I thought she'd get in touch on Monday and I didn't want to bombard with trying to get through to her. Called just now on the work number, someone who sounded like her picked up and claimed no memory of us speaking earlier and quickly finished our conversation. She said her name was not Jane (made up name).

1) I'm sure it was her. She's the main person in the office.
2) What the hell did I do wrong?
3) Why couldn't she just say, tahnks but no thanks, we don't need you anymore?

I think i had a lucky escape there but what else could have I done differently? confused. She sounded older so maybe that's it (different expectations re texting etiquette?) but still...

Got a number from...

Bilbobagginstummy Tue 16-Oct-12 17:40:50

I think I would find all that texting from you too pushy and run away screaming decide I didn't want to use you after all.

Why the urgency? Curious as to whether there is a reason you've not mentioned, which makes your behaviour more appropriate.

ZombTEE Tue 16-Oct-12 17:42:51

I would never text someone that many times when looking for them to hire me. One contact and then wait for them to respond. If no response, then ring the next day.

Your urgency is not theirs.

She said she was busy during the day and she wanted a chat in the evening. Later on I realised I could only do it at 8.30pm, which is late. That's why I texted to check whether it was OK to call at that time. An hour late I realised I could call then at a time which was slightly more appropriate. Don't see what's wrong with that.

It wasn't my urgency. They need someone to manage sth in their office as the person who was doing it fell ill. she said she wanted to chat in the evening in her voicemail, I texted her then to check whether it was OK to call.

Bilbobagginstummy Tue 16-Oct-12 17:48:00

That's your problem. You don't see what's wrong with bombarding someone with texts.

Why didn't you just ring her? She could always let you go to answerphone. I HATE it personally when someone texts asking if they can ring - why don't they just bloody phone?

And why would anyone want to talk business on a Saturday evening anyway?

Bilbobagginstummy Tue 16-Oct-12 17:48:38

OK, xpost with your second. But you get the picture.

Bombarding? hmm

So you think it's an appropriate response to never reply, esp as it wasn't a cold call, I was specifically told they were in a bit of a pickle. She said the evening, not in Mind evening or whatever. Plus pretending it wasn't her and we never spoke? That is a normal behaviour.

Bilbobagginstummy Tue 16-Oct-12 17:56:29

I wasn't sure at first, but now my verdict is YABU.

StuntGirl Tue 16-Oct-12 17:58:01

Yeah I think you were a bit text heavy too. And that's coming from someone who texts rather than phones. She's probably thinking she got a lucky escape from you!

ZombTEE Tue 16-Oct-12 17:59:47

No, it's not normal behaviour to pretend you've never spoken.

But it is also not normal behaviour to text twice in one evening. When she didn't answer the first text you should have left it until today.

KazzaRazza Tue 16-Oct-12 18:00:03

Drink, don't think you bombarded her (if I read your OP correctly, you sent her 2 text messages) - I am in financial services and would have done the same thing (if, as in this case, it was a referral rather than a 'cold call').

Clearly she's had a change of heart and is incapable of communicating this!!!

I think you've had a lucky escape and would forget about her.

Woozley Tue 16-Oct-12 18:03:30

I think by the time you'd sent two texts you could have called. I wouldn't have sent the texts personally or expected them as a potential customer.

could you explain why, bilboa?

I was doing her a favour. I do bedtime ain the evenings, not have business calls and esp not on Sats. confused

You didn't reply why you think her behaviour was acceptable pretending it wasn't her. She could've just said we don't need your services or such like. If it was her colleague, she would've taken a message or passed the phone to her.

By your responses you could think I abused her and committed some unforgivable deadly sins.

Bilbobagginstummy Tue 16-Oct-12 18:37:27

YABU because you don't get that HER perception of the multiple-texting might have been different from yours and put her right off.

If it was the same person answering the phone when you called today then yes, it's distinctly odd of her to pretend not to be her, but:
- you don't know it was the same person, and
- I might have been tempted to do that just to get rid of you. (Though I wouldn't have the nerve to actually do it).

HissyByName Tue 16-Oct-12 19:00:08

Would you really want to work for someone as idiotic as her?

I'm betting that she sorted something out, realised she can't afford it or changed her mind, but has no balls to actually tell you that.

I don't think you were too pushy, even though I am pretty dire on calling people (hate it sometimes), I'd have done as you have done.

mynewpassion Tue 16-Oct-12 19:04:04

Texting potential clients is unprofessional.

I couldn't call so I texted to say I can call but quite late. Are you saying I should've just not let her know that? I thought she was waiting for me call so wouldn't you say it would be rude not to tell her I cant call now???

KazzaRazza Tue 16-Oct-12 19:36:32

mynewpassion - nonsense. I am extremely professional.

I have never lost a client where we have played 'telephone tag' and I have felt it easier to text them and let them know a good time to talk (especially if it's out of 'normal office hours').

Drink, I really wouldn't give it anymore thought - chalk it up to 'there's naught as queer as folk'!!

mynewpassion Tue 16-Oct-12 19:37:51

Why couldn't you call if you could text? Does your phone only text?

My new passion - try a screaming toddler.

Or I could've been in a meeting that over run, or delayed train full if drunken people or had a sudden diarraheaa, take your pick. There is plenty of situations when texting is possible And Not calling. in this case, I thought i'd call her on the way home but DD decided to have an almighty meltdown instead of sitting quietly in her buggy. Is it alright by you?

Softlysoftly Tue 16-Oct-12 19:49:00

I hate texts in business, maybe that makes me old (34), she was odd pretending not to be herself though confused


unless it really wasn't her. i would leave it tbh and i don't think you did anything wrong.

I wouldn't be bothered usually, just chuck it down to experience but I was a bit taken aback because it was sort of arranged beforehand by someone else. Now Im wondering what she'll say to the acquitance confused.

ClippedPhoenix Tue 16-Oct-12 20:04:28

Very Odd OP.

Funny enough I,ve recently been in this sort of position.

I'm going to be made redundant soon and was talking to a sort of friend of mine (her son and mine were very good pals in primary school and I often looked after her son) who worked in a nursery (is now a nanny), she told me she knew various people in the nursery and they'd cut their right arms off to have me. Leave it to her she said and she would have a word for me etc.

Well, I saw her a couple of weeks later and she yet again said she'd do this. Then absolutely nothing. Ran into her and she said she'd swapped phones (her phone was dead at the moment) but still had my number and would go home and text me. Nothing.

I saw her the other day and she went the colour of a tomato and blustered some excuse.

Blimey, it wasn't me that friggin asked her!

What an absolute nutter.

No, you didn't over text in my opinion, you were keen and that's surely what they should want.

HongKongPhooy Tue 16-Oct-12 20:06:41

i dont think you have been pushy or text heavy at all confused

but also think, it really might not have been her you spoke too???? me and my sister sound identical on the phone

she might still call you??

Yika Tue 16-Oct-12 20:16:10

I definitely don't think you did anything wrong! I think it's entirely appropriate to text to fix a time when it's an evening call. She sounds weird.

Depends how you text. I think you have to be quite formal or it is annoying, and I would be put off by you changing your mind within an hour.

She is odd if she denied remembering you called .... but you didn't have a conversation? You were leaving voicemails/texts, so no wonder she didn't know who you were if you said you'd had a conversation with her.

MadgeHarvey Tue 16-Oct-12 21:39:54

mynewpassion Tue 16-Oct-12 19:04:04

Texting potential clients is unprofessional

If I had been her I wouldn't have had anything further to do with you. Sorry if that seems harsh - you might need to reassess the way you do things. Texting is for lovestruck teenagers not business professionals.

So Madge you think it is better to leave someone waiting for your call rather than to let them know by text that you can't really? Now that pisses me off if I wait for a call and then the person doesn't call. I would have appreciated a heads up in such situation.

TiAAAAARGHo Tue 16-Oct-12 21:50:02

Sending a text message is not unprofessional if it is done in standard English rather than txt spk. My colleagues and I use it all the time and we work in the City. It is a mode of communication which is quick and way to use, gets to a person when they are not at their computer (I.e. when they are in a meeting so can't speak on the telephone) and saves us all hours and hora of telephone tag.

OP - if she wanted to speak to you that evening, you were fine to send both texts. It appears she just changed her mind and was unable to communicate that to you for whatever reason.

Bumblebee333 Tue 16-Oct-12 22:00:42

Business has moved with the times. People use calling, texting, emailing, face to face meetings, online meetings, They are all normal and acceptable methods of communication.

I don't think you were unreasonable for texting to say you could only call at unusual time and to check that was ok, OP. I would go back to the mutual contact and check the details.

Spamspamspam Tue 16-Oct-12 22:19:21

I don't think you were wrong at all OP. Texting in that situation shows that you are trying to provide a solution to her need. I take it the missed phone calls you shared were to mobiles? If so far less intrusive to send a text letting her know you were available should she require. All the posters saying it was unprofessional obviously aren't up with the times on communication. My client and I have just texted each other this evening - not intrusive but he knows ringing me won't be welcomed and an email might not get read until tomorrow so a politely worded text is fine and vice versa if I want to contact him immediately I will text. I don't think you should have phoned quite so quickly but also if there was a well known network problem probably a good idea. I employ a lot of people and often overlook the odd email where they need something and a text is a great reminder for me without being too intrusive! I think the woman probably has other reasons for not following up but if it were me I certainly wouldn't take it personally.

fuckwittery Tue 16-Oct-12 22:24:46

I don't think you bombarded. You left one vm - she left one back asking yout o call THAT evening. As you couldn't call until after 8.30, which you quite rightly and understandingly thought might be late you asked if it was OK to call then. The text re being able to call at 7.30 I possibly might just have called, but I think it was fine to text - and if she wanted to call she would have done so or texted back asking you to call. She obviously doesnt need you anymore - bizarre phone behaviour from her today.

pchip Tue 16-Oct-12 22:25:06

Love all the replies suggesting texting is unprofessional. When many workplaces - including mine- use our interoffice instant messaging systems. You know, like teenagers on Skype grin

Spamspamspam Tue 16-Oct-12 22:27:21

Would love to know what the "extremely unprofessional" brigade do for a living......

RawShark Tue 16-Oct-12 22:30:47

I'm with fuckwittery. Much less intrusive to text and "professional" as had already made more formal telephone contact stating she wished to talk - and clearly you were texting so she wouldn't be inconvenienced.

Of course you would have had to sign off the text in full so she knew who you were. Doesn;t explain bizarre telecon next day though.

PatriciaHolm Tue 16-Oct-12 22:38:24

Texting can be completely professional! I've had texts from directors of FTSE 100 companies for heavens sake! Sometimes it's the most convenient way to say "can't talk, will email contract" or something similar. You wouldn't want to have an extended conversation, but in the OP's place, 2 short texts following up what was pitched to her as a request from them for help was entirely appropriate.

No idea what the woman today was up to, unless it really wasn't her; could it have been a temp covering the required role who thought dismissing "cold callers" was part of her job?

boredandrestless Tue 16-Oct-12 22:41:22

Could it be that it's not you or her but the acquaintance that has been over keen in giving you the number of this person to call. Perhaps you weren't as needed as acquaintance made out?

As for the texts - it's 2012. As long as they were written in correct English rather than text speak I think the texts you sent in the circumstances were fine.

I gave the name of the mutual acquaintance when I first called and then today. If it was someone else in the office why didn't they say "oh, let me pass you to Jane" or "let me take the message"? Hmmm, she sounded very keen in her first voicemail so I don't know..

Maybe those who say it's unprofessional to text work in, I don't know, NHS or local government. I can imagine texting could be out if place. But in the private small business sector? People do business on Twitter for Pete's sake. And Facebook and LinkedIn. You could say she was unprofessional to want to talk after working hours. I was just trying to accommodate her confused.

Thanks for all the contributions.

Spamspamspam Tue 16-Oct-12 23:22:33

Drinks don't get hung up on the "unprofessional" crowd. I work for a FTSE 100 so it's not just small businesses - look at all the responses from obvious successful career women. And also take a look round the more popular threads on AIBU you only have to skim through the hand washing thread to see the calibre of some of the "unprofessional" brigade!!

smile Spam

bragmatic Wed 17-Oct-12 04:37:04

Did I miss something? It was only 2 texts, right? And that was after playing phone voicemail tag. What's excessive in two texts trying to tee up a convenient time to talk???

She sounds like a nutter, if that was her.

Softlysoftly Wed 17-Oct-12 05:17:16

Spam I'm in the unprofessional brigade, I have my own business and am a marketing consultant handling large budgets for a public body. Previously brand management for Blue Chip so please drag your head out of your arse and take a breath.

Yes I use text day to say with colleagues people I have a relationship with. Text to a new contact pushing new business is still not appropriate until a relationship has been formalised.

The assessment on here is that it's a quick and simple time saver, absolutely, but that's not for NBDevelopment where you need to nurture. So yes it absolutely might be that the woman didn't like (as many wouldn't) that method of approach.

Though as I said pretending to be someone else (if it truly was her) is just weird.

Proudnscary Wed 17-Oct-12 06:28:19

I would hardly call her a nutjob!

I don't think you 'inundated' her with texts but I would say next time make yourself stop at one. You didn't need to text to bring the conversation forwarded by an hour.

It's amazing how many people text before properly thinking - and that's where I think the danger of texting re work stuff lies. Because it's such an immediate, informal medium people forget to use it professionally.

I know someone who routinely texts four or five times about arranging meeting etc, changing date and time or adding bits of info. No, stop and think for a minute. Send one text, keep it succint and friendly and professional.

I love text and email as I am phone phobic - but on balance, even in today's world, I do think texting sends out the wrong message and is unprofessional unless you know the client or colleague well.

HecateLarpo Wed 17-Oct-12 06:49:02

Have I got this right? you rang her and she didn't answer, so you left a message.

She returned your call but didn't get you, and left you a message.

Between these messages it was agreed that you would talk in the evening.

you then contact her to clarify that 'evening' in this case means after 8:30 ( a reasonable thing to do. It is quite late. Most people would assume maybe 6-7 if it's a late business related call) You didn't do this on your voicemail because you didn't know you wouldn't be available until then.

Later on, you realise you can be available sooner and you contact her again to ask whether she would prefer you to call then, or would she be happier to stick to the 8:30 you had previously said.

you were not excessive in your communications, imo. I run my own business and would not think someone was harassing me if they sent me two texts. There is a difference between pestering someone and necessary updates.

However, I don't like texts in business. I particularly wouldn't want texts from someone attempting to pitch to me. I view texts as too casual for initial communications. They're a thing used further down the line, imo. Even email would be preferable. I wouldn't dump someone for it, but I wouldn't like it.

I think she was childish to pretend the way she did (if she did - unless it really wasn't her, you didn't misdial, etc). I would assume that she lacks confidence or assertiveness and pretending nobody worked there of that name was preferable than saying that she didn't wish to proceed.

You should just leave it now.

ZombTEE Wed 17-Oct-12 07:27:27

SPAM you're name is very very appropriate. And job on with your 'read the mummies on here to see unprofessionalism'. It's a parenting site, not a business forum.

Also...what Hecate said.

drcrab Wed 17-Oct-12 07:39:08

Fwiw I don't think you were overkeen.

Relatedly I received an unsolicited head hunters email asking me to apply for a job. I emailed back asking for more details etc which was duly provided.

Then I said sure lets chat. And he disappeared. Completely. I emailed again saying lets chat. And again no reply. hmm

I didn't even approach him! If they'd found someone better fine! He could have just said sorry! Sheesh.

I wasn't pushing business!!! She told me to call. I physically couldn't. She gave me the landline to call. Do you get it? Pmease sime one explain how was I to let her know I couldn't call? How is that being pushy? I was accommodating to her. Don't you think it's unprofessional to not call when you said you would?

YellowRiver Wed 17-Oct-12 08:13:40

DrinkFeck, Sounds to me like you did the right thing, and the whole situation seems odd at their end. Obviously something has gone on behind the scenes that you don't know about, and they no longer need you (whether she was posing as someone else, or it actually was someone else). I'd drop it unless she gets back in touch.

Texting in business is clearly a divisive issue, but I'm with spam on this one. In my office we use skype the most. I'm also required to interact with my company's facebook page. There's nothing wrong with using modern technology (considerately) to further your business.

Drcrab I share your problem. Particularly via LinkedIn where I'm getting constant invites from headhunters who seem to be just broadening their list of connections without any real insight into what I do. 'I have a client looking for someone with your skills...' 'Great, let's talk!' <<silence>> Aargh
Glad it's not just me...

drcrab Wed 17-Oct-12 08:18:41

yellowriver infuriating isn't it? Mine wasn't through LinkedIn though. Somehow he'd found me through some recommendation from someone.... But still v rude. They looked v respectable too as a head hunters firm!!!

Softlysoftly Wed 17-Oct-12 08:21:48

Actually if you retread the latest posts not one says you were pushy or excessive. They all say text wasn't the right medium in this case however, which is something that you guessed in your op so why the shock?

Fwiw in your situation I wouldn't have called on a Saturday in the first place as its not a working day, I know when you work for yourself every days a working day and it's easy to slip into thinking everyone is the same, but they aren't if they hold formal business hours (until you know them and know they are flexible).

If I had called her and she left a message back specifying a time I couldn't do, I would call her at the next time convenient to me and apologise you weren't available. She was punting you would be, there was no expectation that you would be iyswim. Sometimes it's easy to try and be accommodating (which is a good thing) but trip up in your eagerness (eg by using text to do so) when in actuality it would have been better to wait. An example I would give is leaping in with an answer at interview when taking the time to think things out thoroughly would be more productive.

None of that means she isn't a dick for pretending to be someone else and you are better off without the contract btw!

Bilbobagginstummy Wed 17-Oct-12 08:51:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HongKongPhooy Wed 17-Oct-12 09:19:53

whether text is appropriate or not, is a bit secondary to potential client pretending she isnt herself and claiming no knowledge of OP, isnt it?! confused

Anyway, I did the best I could in the situ and if she thinks it was unacceptable then it's her problem.

Funnily enough, I started a thread recently about potential clients texting me late at night and on Sunday asking about business and even botherung to apologise. Yes, I get the text thing in the business if you are getting un contact for the first tome.

Anyway, off to find a lighthearted thread do some work.

Spamspamspam Wed 17-Oct-12 12:43:03

ZOMB please direct me to where I mentioned anything at all about "mummies" I am very confused about your assumption of my opinion I didn't realise you had access to my thoughts?

As a parent and also having a brain I have managed to work out this is a parenting forum thank you. "whispers" you do realise that both parents can have professional careers don't you?

cumfy Wed 17-Oct-12 15:16:14

Why didn't your business associate just recommend you and give them your contact details ?

Sounds like she solved the problem she had.

spondulix Wed 17-Oct-12 15:37:37

I think it's fine to text but you said that she needed you - if that was the case she would've got in touch with you.

I think you scared her off, but I think she was being unprofessional pretending to be someone else (if it really was her on the phone) and should've been honest with you.

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