The Professional Speechwriters Association and the leadership communication professionals we consult with as part of our Professional Development Academy are not a movie theater. Or a barber shop. Or a bar and grill.
But say we were a bar and grill. And you stuck your head in and asked us what time the kitchen opens, you asked to see a menu, you asked us what the specials are?
When we told you, wouldn't you feel obligated to say something in return? Wouldn't you feel you ought to at least say, "Okay, I don't like navy bean, I'll try back Wednesday." Or, "It smells like ammonia in here. Thanks anyway!" Or, "Ten dollars for a hamburger! What is this, downtown Omaha?"
What you wouldn't do is simply close the door and disappear.
Which is what people routinely do to consultants—either because they have contempt for them or pity for them or both—when they ask for a proposal and then never get back.
It happens. All the time. And the consultants hound the would-be client for an answer—any answer, just to get "Ping Prospect" off the to-do list! And the prospect still never gets back.
Honestly, it's confusing. And it's rude.
And every time an inquiring client does this to us and our people at the PSA PDA, I'm going to send them a link to this blog post, which must conclude with the line I once overheard a construction contractor say to a client, at the top of the construction contractor's lungs in front of the whole construction crew: "Unprofessional? You think I'm unprofessional? Well fuck you!"