The old school way of doing business of just shaking someone’s hand on a deal is long gone. Remember those days? Those handshakes meant something and were honored. If you’re under 40 you probably have no idea what I’m talking about. Times have changed.
Lawyers draw up agreements with the intention of leaving back doors out for their clients before they even sign the initial agreements. What is good business, many days would qualify as apprehensible personal behavior. Funny how not everything is better as we progress.
And now most want to hide behind email. Email is a great tool for sure, but don’t lose the best tool of them all, personal conversations. Conversations? Am I crazy? Who actually calls and speaks to one another these days? Well, no, actually I’m not crazy and conversations are beneficial for many reasons.
We here at A3 Media always prefer phone or in person conversations with all our vendor partners. Building relationships with these people we work with is a top priority. These are the people who we work with very closely now and hopefully for years to come. Relying on using just one of these forms of communications will be a problem. If you use just email for example, how many times have you read an email that you misinterpreted? If you are just using a conversation as your guide, some of the smaller details might be missed that were agreed upon.
During our process of vetting new vendors for an upcoming campaign, we also discuss procedures and policies. Talking with our account executives helps both parties understand this process in many ways. Building a strong working relationship is always important, but also understanding how each party works and what is expected from both will make an easy and hopefully stress-free successful campaign.
After these conversations, we follow up with an email and layout what was discussed in that conversation. Unfortunately, these days if you don’t follow up with an email, some might ask; “did that conversation even happen”? That might sound harsh, but it seems to mitigate any misunderstandings later. In this email you might want to list “My responsibilities” and “Your responsibilities”. Or, if you prefer, here is what I said and promised to do, and here is what you said and promised to do. It’s this email that usually flushes out any misunderstanding or confusion moving forward. It’s better to do this now and then you both can move forward knowing that you made that extra effort and took that additional step to ensure a great working relationship.
In a previous article, I sighted one of our policies here, our “Procedure letter”. In this letter it is spelled out how we need to receive any reports, who they go to and due dates for this information. This document goes out and we follow up immediately with a phone call to discuss this very letter. We have had to refer to this “Procedure Letter” that was sent through email and discussed on the phone when we don’t get what we need.
The phone is alive and well here at A3 Media. The phone rings and someone here picks up. There is no automated message service here. This may be surprising to many as many companies seem to be moving away from direct contact with all outsiders and then force you to fill out a form online with your question or problem. Waiting for a call back could take days, and sometimes simply never happens. In the effort to streamline and save money, we now just sit and wait on hold for countless hours to even ask the simplest questions. It’s the combination of both email and personal service that gets us results at the end of the day.
Try it, you might find it’s quicker, more thorough and extremely helpful!