The Courtesy of a Reply

I recently had the pleasure of losing a bid for a potential client’s special event entertainment.  The “pleasure of losing”?  Well, I say “pleasure” not because I enjoyed failing to close the deal, but because the client had the courtesy to actually let me know that although they enjoyed the presentation, our music services would not be needed at this time.

As a vendor, who has conscientiously provided estimates, taken meetings, brainstormed ideas and sent materials regarding possible events, I appreciate knowing the outcome of a client’s decision (especially when solicited by the client to begin with).  No having to guess the status of a particular event, or wasting time on unreturned messages or emails.

However, modern communication has enabled buyers to shop the Internet casually and at will, building up a long list of potential vendors to inquire to.  The resulting backlog of disqualified suppliers can make it a daunting task for buyers to follow up with messages of polite no-thank-you’s.

And, most people dislike being the bearer of disappointing news—whether it involves a business pitch, a contest or a personal relationship.  Voice-mail messages aren’t a sure thing, since the rejectee might actually pick up the phone.  So, modern communication can also minimize the discomfort of this process.  Person-to-person can be replaced by emails, texts or even a brief note (so last-century, but still practiced in certain remote areas of society), which lets the supplier know his efforts were appreciated, even if not ultimately resulting in a go-ahead.

I make a point of thanking those who communicate back for their thoughtfulness.  It’s often a breath of fresh air in my—or any—business.  Of course, I prefer the pleasure of the RSVP Orchestra getting to perform for a client’s event.  But if it’s not meant to be, I will take the pleasure of their courtesy as the next best substitute.

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