I never cease to be amazed at the poor deportment of businesspeople, especially those businesspeople who conduct new business searches for PR firms.
A couple of recent events prompted this evergreen, but nonetheless, too often true observation. Today, for example, I spied a big feature article on a particular manufacturer in which the head of communications is quoted extensively. Ah yes, I remember him well. It was only six months ago that this guy invited one large and three midsized agencies to pitch his account. In the briefings we were told the prospect had "had it" with big firms. So, what happened? They ended up picking the one big agency after all. And, how did we find out? Courtesy of a trade reporter calling for a reaction. The big agency selection was confirmed an hour later by a one sentence e-mail from this dude. Repeated requests for a post mortem explanation were ignored. Nice. Very nice.
Also, today, one of our account people followed up on a proposal that had been submitted several weeks ago to a prospect who said she needed to make a decision ASAP. Needless to say, we hadn’t heard anything so our intrepid AS sent the note. A one-sentence response came back saying the organization was in "….serious conversations with another firm." Nice. Very nice.
I’m convinced what goes around comes around and these ill-mannered types will get their just desserts in the end. In the meantime, I find it interesting how dramatically the comportment of such individuals change overnight when they find themselves downsized and in need of a job. Suddenly, they become amazingly communicative and often follow-up an e-mail with several phone calls wondering if we have openings or can connect them to others who might. When such a scenario does occur, I’m always reminded of the awesome Ken Burns Civil War documentary and a particular incident at the end of the war when a freed slave turned Union soldier saw his former master being led away in chains to a prisoner of war camp and said, "Bottom rail on top now, massa."