Do you ever get tired of clients that just don’t seem to respect your time? I have found that most people are very considerate of others and quite reasonable about working with me in scheduling appointments and arranging a time to view properties and the like. There are, however some clients that seem to think that they are your only client and expect you to accommodate them at any time they require your services. I understand that they are the client and not the other way around but sometimes people’s demands can be very unreasonable.
After years of dealing with people from all walks of life I have finally discovered the secret to having a successful business relationship with just about anyone. Would you like to know what it is? It’s actually quite simple; you must teach people how you wish to be treated. The truth is that it is your responsibility to make sure that people understand what is and is not acceptable to you. If you don’t accept calls on Sunday from 1 -5 because that’s the time that you visit your mom every week than be sure to inform clients (and coworkers) of this “rule”. It’s not unreasonable to have some “off time” is it?
While we all understand that important matters may arise at any time that must be addressed immediately the truth is that most situations are not truly critical and can easily be taken care of in a reasonable time. Not everything is an emergency and not every situation needs to be addressed immediately. If others are not clear as to what is or is not an “emergency” in your line of work than it is your responsibility to educate them. If you don’t then you are giving them your permission to call you at any time that they wish and they will be expecting you to respond quickly.
If you don’t mind constantly interrupted family dinners, no free time for yourself and never need a day off than maybe this isn’t for you but everybody needs to take a breather once in a while and that just isn’t possible if others don’t respect your time. Don’t forget one vital thing; you must tell people when you are normally available as well. If your normal working hours are 9 -6 than make sure that everyone is aware of this.
I know what you’re thinking, “But in this business I must be available at all times or I will lose business”, right? I will agree to that to a certain extent but the truth is that most of us tend to be available for clients to the extent that we are doing ourselves an injustice. The bottom line is that if you are working too much you are not controlling your time well. Time management is a skill that can be learned but if you can’t communicate your “normal” schedule to others you will no longer own your business, it will own you.