Backing Out Gracefully

By on July 1, 2011

shaking hands in front of office buildingBy Jeannine Clontz

One of the most difficult things for me, when honing my business ethics, is making sure I keep the emotion out of my response. We’re all emotional beings, me sometimes more so than others are, but when it comes to maintaining good business ethics, taking a step back and responding from a logical, rather than an emotional place, can be a challenge.

Because I am the business owner, it’s hard not to look at it as something personal, when in reality it’s just business. One area that many of my clients, colleagues and peers struggle with is not saying anything untoward about the competition. Here’s one situation in which I was successful in, ‘backing out gracefully’!

In passing, one of my clients asked me if I’d ever heard of ABC Company, and had I done any business with them. Not only had I done business with them, they had been a client, but I severed both relationships because I found them to be very unethical.

They not only dealt unfairly with me, as a service provider, but their approach to serving me as a client was very questionable. I really wanted to give my client all the gory details, and tell them to steer clear of them, but my ethical conscience just wouldn’t allow it.

“I’ve had a client and customer relationship with them in the past, but haven’t really worked with them for quite some time. I can tell you that I’ve recently started working with DEF Company, and have been very pleased with their services. Their services really fit my needs,” I replied.

Of course, their next question was unavoidable. “So did you have problems with them?” they asked. Okay, so now what? How do I maintain my ethical standards, but provide an honest answer to a good client?

It was very hard not to bring my personal and emotional feelings to the surface about how I’d been treated by this company. I could certainly justify it by saying it was to save this client from having to experience the problems I’d had, but I just couldn’t…the words, “do no harm” kept sneaking into my subconscious.

Although this company had certainly not taken those three words into consideration where our relationship was concerned, I most assuredly do not want to lower myself to their standards. .I knew that I shouldn’t say anything bad about them. Who knows, maybe ABC Company had new owners or management. Maybe they figured it out and started working more ethically.

My response? “I had a problem with them some time ago, but haven’t really done business with them for a long time. It certainly could have been something unique to my situation, and I imagine that they should be able to provide you with references, should you be concerned. At any rate, I would certainly encourage you to at least look at ABC Company and DEF Company, compare them, check references, and make the decision you feel will be the best one for your needs.”

I answered honestly, but provided them with enough information for them to consider all their options. It actually turned out exactly as it should have. They looked at both companies, and reported to me that ABC Company provided them with two references, both of which declined to provide information. They used DEF Company and were very pleased with the results.

Even though I didn’t say what I would have liked to, I maintained my ethics, left the client with enough information to consider all their options, and everything worked out for the best.

There’s nothing magical about business ethics, it’s just that final piece of the puzzle that can make or break your business. Don’t break your business, use good business ethics!

Wishing you continued success and the wisdom to consider ethical options.

Jeannine Clontz, IVAA CVA, MVA, EthicsChecked™, provides marketing and social media support, training and consulting to busy entrepreneurs. For information about finding a VA, download her FREE 10-Step Guide to Finding the Right VA, or to learn why Social Media should be an important part of your marketing plan with her FREE Report, Social Media Marketing Benefits, visit: http://www.accbizsvcs.com/ or contact her at [email protected].

About Jeannine Clontz

Jeannine Clontz, IVAA CVA, MVA, EthicsChecked™, provides marketing and social media support, training and consulting to busy entrepreneurs. For information about finding a VA, download her FREE 10-Step Guide to Finding the Right VA, or to learn why Social Media should be an important part of your marketing plan with her FREE Report, Social Media Marketing Benefits, visit: http://www.accbizsvcs.com, or contact her at [email protected]

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Backing Out Gracefully