Dear Vendor: Stop Making Yourself Obsolete

Dear Vendor,

Thank you for your recent email. I was disappointed to hear that you are so busy with another client that you are unable to dial in to a brief call with our mutual client to align on the questions they have and the decisions they need to make.

You'veGotMailBut don’t worry, because I’ll have your back. While you are busy with your other client and only weighing in over here via stream-of-consciousness emails, I will work closely and thoughtfully with the client to help them address their challenges and make good decisions about strategy, content, messaging and logistics.

I may not be able to answer all their questions, but I can help them sleep well at night by identifying questions they didn’t know they had and by making recommendations for how to handle their items of concern. After all, “strategic partner” is a key responsibility I have to all my clients, even when questions (or calendars!) get messy.

I realize this approach might bleed into the scope of your role and the areas in which you are an expert (remember, you told me you are an expert … ). I really wish you would take advantage of these opportunities to demonstrate your expertise, such as by being on this call to explain to the client understand how you can (or can’t) help them.

As you said, you have been doing this for a very long time. In fact, when we first spoke, you mentioned that many clients have scaled back on services like yours due to cost pressures. I guess they have a hard time justifying the costs for your services, which can so easily be picked up and handled by others.

I appreciate your words of support and encouragement. It is nice to know you are not worried about all the details coming together in time. I started this relationship looking forward to working with you and eager to see all of us succeed: our client, you and me. But now, you are not in that picture, and not because you have not been asked to join the party.

Please don’t be surprised when the client has a question – maybe about one of those messy details you think are so easy to handle – and they turn to me for clarification or consultation.

Yours truly,

The Consultant

Heather Nelson is a partner with PeopleResults. You can reach her at or on Twitter at @HeatherGNelson1. Sign up to receive the PeopleResults blog at Current.