7 tips for doing business with ‘old-timers’ – Daily News

on Jan12
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Accompanied by my bride, I forayed to the Apple store at the Irvine Spectrum last week. After all, Apple accouterments are the jewelry of the 2020s.

Wow! The modern monolith of retail is maxed with more mobile devices and red-shirted millennials than Kylie Jenner’s Instagram posts.

Shopping was proceeding quite swimmingly until we selected our items and method of receipt, email, or wait for the eye roll, paper. With the sizable sale secured, our red shirt directed us to a table that required a 1950s birth date. Akin to craft time at Leisure World, our helper adopted a condescending tone reserved for all who need help “restoring from iCloud.” But I digress.

Today, with this experience as a backdrop, I decided to provide a bit of a primer for doing biz with an old-timer. So here it goes: How to successfully do business with a baby boomer.

We didn’t get your email. Don’t ask us this question. Instead, use this framework. If something is mission-critical, call us, then send a confirming email. Then if you haven’t received a response, call us again and ask this question: Do you have any questions that I can answer on the email I sent you? If you truly want to know if we received your email, set the “received and read” receipt feature to alert you.

When we say we will be there, only a cranial lobotomy will stop us. And likewise, when you tell us you will be someplace, you better be hemorrhaging body parts if you stiff us. My favorite is what I call the California RSVP: Sure, I’ll be there, unless something better comes up. Generally, if you flake, we’re done with you, as this is a huge sign of disrespect.

CALL US, we won’t be offended. We will actually be impressed you took the time to dial us up to chat. Remember, we grew up in a time when the ONLY way to communicate, other than face-to-face, was by telephone. We are comfortable with the phone and enjoy the interaction.

TIME matters to us. My grandmother used to say, “If you’re 10 minutes early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re late, you’re fired!” The only possible exception would be a party where you are one of a number of guests, then it’s a bit clunky to be early. But, in a business setting, we believe it is extraordinarily rude to be late.

We probably know your boss or someone who knows your boss. Don’t underestimate our networks and the way in which we use them. Chances are we’ve checked you out, through a common acquaintance, before our meeting, and if our dealings aren’t the smoothest, we don’t hesitate to call your boss and let him/her know.

We respect authority. We, therefore, have a deep respect for our elders, whether or not they deserve it. Show us the same respect, even if you have to fake it. Like Richard Pryor once opined, “They ain’t many old fools. You don’t get old bein’ no fool. There are lots of young fools and they end up dead.”

A handwritten note will win us forever. We were taught gratitude from the greatest generation. Don’t forget to thank us, for our time, our advice, our willingness to help, the lesson in how to tie a bow tie, etc. If you really want to wow us, send us a note, by hand, in an envelope with a stamp on it!

Allen C. Buchanan, SIOR, is a principal with Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Orange. He can be reached at abuchanan@lee-associates.com or 714.564.7104.

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