How long should you wait for someone to turn up before getting up and leaving?

Oct 19, 2022
Clients seek partners and not subservience,so service providers must respect themselves

Nearly 20 years ago, a former boss taught me an important lesson about self-respect.

After waiting 20 minutes for a client to turn up for a meeting, my boss just got up and left (and I followed him).

Not waiting longer than 20 minutes for someone was a rule he had so people didn't waste his time.

I still follow that rule to this day (but I'm inclined to give people 30 minutes if I'm sitting in their reception area...for Zoom meetings, it's more like 6 minutes!).

If you're a leader, you too can empower your team with some rules to ensure they're not disrespected by clients and prospects.

For help with handling situations where somebody else is treating you or your team like a doormat, take a listen to episode 110 of CRE Success: The Podcast.

And, if you liked this tip, you’ll love 10 more ways to kill it in commercial real estate. It’s a new LIVE and FREE workshop we’re hosting soon for friends of CRE Success. Click here to reserve your spot.



Episode transcript:

There is a difference between providing great customer service and being treated like a doormat.

It was something that I was discussing with my members inside CRE Success: Membership last week, which was actually prompted by something that was on the podcast.

That is the inspiration for today’s topic.

I want to talk to you about where the line is between providing great service and being treated like a doormat on today's show.

Hello, and welcome to episode 110 of CRE Success: The Podcast. My name is Darren Krakowiak. I help commercial real estate leaders to develop their people and also to grow their business.

If you enjoy the show, I would love it if you could let someone else know about the show, because that helps more people find the content, which gives us the motivation to keep on producing more episodes.

If you know somebody who would benefit from the show, and you enjoy it yourself, let them know about CRE Success: The Podcast.

So today we're talking about not being treated like a doormat for yourself and also for your team.

If you manage people, you want to be able to let them know about some principles that can encourage them to be empowered so they're treated with respect. And they know where to draw the line in terms of how they will be treated by clients and prospects in the marketplace.

And a couple of episodes ago, I spoke about being stood up for a meeting and I was talking about how when we show up more the odds simply suggest that sooner or later were more likely to be stood up for a meeting was occasionally that happens.

And one of my members inside CRE Success: Membership asked me, "What would I have done if for example, it happened again? Or would I have met with that person again."

So, I thought I would just share with you some of my thoughts around that. And then also share with you how you can handle these situations better, whether it's a specific situation like I'm talking about, or something similar, where you’re kind of put to the test in terms of your patience and the way that other people are treating you.

What I've given this person another chance, if I was stood up for a meeting, I think if they reached out to me and they attempted to reschedule, I'd be happy to give them a pass for not having turned up to the meeting because everyone makes mistakes.

And if they're willing to extend that olive branch, then I'd be willing to accept it and see if we could go again.

Now, if they did do it again, I think I would be once bitten twice shy and that I probably wouldn't be expecting as much from them.

So, it wouldn't matter as much if they did it to me again, I would be just like, ‘Okay, well, obviously, they're not who I thought they were.’

Now, if they apologized a second time, maybe I'd get over it. But I guess if they did it a third time, that would be three strikes and you're out.

Now, whatever your limit is, I think you want to know what your limit is and stick to it.

Consider what's fair. And have a think about when someone is acting in a way, which is inconsistent with how you want to be treated or how you would treat others is there some misalignment of values.

And also, if they're not willing to do something basic such as let you know, if they're not able to make an appointment that you've set, then perhaps they're not respecting your role in the process. And that could say something about what it might be like to work with them in the future.

Now one other situation I've been in, which came up in the discussion I had with members last week, and this was from one of my bosses from the second job I had in commercial real estate.

He told me that his role was 20 minutes, I extended it to, well, I let it run for 30. He said to be, if he goes to a meeting, and he's there to visit the client’s office and they keep him waiting for more than 20 minutes, then you'll just get up and walk out.

And something like that happened to me. Last year I think it was, it got up to 30 minutes and I hadn't really been informed of what was going on. I think the secretary or the receptionist came out and acknowledged the fact that I was still waiting, but not really given me any explanation about where the person was who I was meeting and whether there was going to be a longer wait or a shorter way or whatever.

And after 30 minutes, I guess I went to the receptionist and I said, "I've waited for 30 minutes, let the person know that I was here. Thank you.” I said it politely without frustration and then just walked out.

And as it happened, about two minutes after I'd walked out the person called me. "Very, very sorry. Please come back. I want to see you."

And so, I went back and I let him know that, “Look, if I'm waiting for more than 30 minutes without an explanation, then I've just decided to leave” and he thought “Yeah, well, fair enough”.

So having rules like that can help you deal with the situation because you've got an exit. You're not just sitting there and waiting and waiting and waiting and wondering what's going to happen.

I think another couple of things to keep in mind. One is: don't take it personally. Right? It's not personal against you when it does happen.

Do have self-respect. And don't let people walk all over you, but also don't overreact.

And whether it's people not remembering that they do have appointment with you, or whether it's people just ghosting you, when you feel like you've gotten into a conversation with them that it's going well, and then you don't hear back from them. I think nowadays, people are just a little bit more likely to do that.

And if that happens, so whether it's, for example, someone not turning up for a meeting, or whether you've been in a conversation, and ongoing correspondence or meeting with people, and then they just ghost you, I think, sending them a quick note just to sort of let them know that you know what's happened, without it being said in a way, which is accusatory, or letting them know that you're upset, but just saying, "hey, it looks like you weren't able to make the meeting today. Or it seems like this project is not a priority for you anymore. Let me know if you'd like to discuss it in the future”, or whatever the case might be. And then you just make them a not now prospect.

The same way as you would treat someone who you had spoken to and the conversation didn't go anywhere, because they weren't ready to speak to you, or they had another service provider in place, or whatever the case might be, you can just put them into your CRM, and you come back to them later if you want to. And I think that's really the way to deal with it.

So how can you handle a situation like this or something similar, if it happens to you?

As I mentioned on the episode a couple of weeks ago, is see it like a test.

I already mentioned that I think about what it is that I can do in this situation that will help me handle it better now, and also how I can handle this situation better in the future.

And for me, if I can feel myself getting upset, then that's an indication that I need to detach from what's going on and not be so emotional about it. Because when our emotions go up, our intellect goes down.

Now for you, it may not be around feeling angry, there could be some other emotion that you're feeling or some other reason why you're triggered. It might be a feeling of self-doubt, it could be frustration, it could be fear, it could be anxiety, it could be impatience.

But whatever it is, your job is to get control of those emotions and those feelings before they start controlling you, and before they start negatively impacting your behavior.

So, when you feel your emotions trying to take control, ask yourself, as if it is a test: ‘What is this challenge, this moment this test preparing me for? And how will successfully dealing with it make me better equipped to deal with something more important in the future?’

As I mentioned at the top of the episode, if you are a leader, I think letting people in your team know about how you deal with those situations based on your experience can also help them be equipped to deal with those situations.

That also lets them know that they've got the permission to, for example, if they turn up for a meeting, and the counterpart doesn't turn up for 20 or 30 minutes without explanation that they have the right to walk out of that meeting or to stop waiting for that meeting to commence and that you're okay with that.

And if you're able to, when you're in that situation, access that logical part of your brain, and shut down the emotional response that you might be feeling.

You're not only going to react better in the moment, but I think you'll be better capable of handling it in the future because your brain will be one, trained to deal with the situation better. But two, you'll also remember how you deal with it before it'll be like, "Oh, I know how to deal with this."

You're supposed to walk out after 30 minutes, politely tell the receptionist that I can't wait any longer and let it go.

So, this is one of the 10 more ways to kill it in commercial real estate that I told you about last week.

If you go to, you can register to be the first to be informed about when we go live with this special event.

We've rolled it out for our members and for one of our corporate clients this week, and we'll be offering it for free to our wider network very soon and I would love for you to be part of it.

Go to to register your interest to attend 10 more ways to kill it in commercial real estate.

That is our episode for you today. Thank you so much for listening, and I will speak to you soon.

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