Do you remember the movie Pretty Woman’?

Of course you do. Even most guys have watched it – perhaps on a Friday night with their beloved – though few would admit to it.

There’s a scene that has always resonated with me – and, I guess, with a few of you too. It’s where a saleswoman pre-judges Julia Roberts’ character and excludes her from the premium clothing store on the notion of exclusivity, class or privilege.

“You get paid on commission, right? Big mistake!”.

Julia Roberts – Pretty Woman

Of course you remember it. It was one of those pivotal sweet revenge moments in the film.

My Pretty Woman moment

I had my own Pretty Woman moment when I was recommended to a property advocate who could help us with our commercial property needs for a couple of ventures.

During the course of those conversations , I outlined our business models, value propositions, specific audience and needs, while sharing our roadmap to launching each business.

Our expectations were that we would need dozens of separate and distinct commercial properties over the next five years. All going well, perhaps we would need twice that in the following five years.

After three emails, three phone calls and a long face-to-face discussion, I felt that we had an initial working relationship to progress across all fronts in a smooth and easy manner.

However, about 24 hours later, I received the following direct and terse reply.

Right then I was thinking of that break-up phrase we’ve all heard at least once in our life.

What are they really saying?

What they really mean is the reverse – it is them, not you.

Yes, we all have an obligation to be clear, succinct, transparent, passionate, engaging and collaborative. But in doing that…

If someone doesn’t get your mission, that’s not your fault. It’s theirs.

Daniel Mumby

Not for a moment am I suggesting that you be rude to a customer who says no.  A potential investor might not get your value proposition because it’s not their field of expertise.

I like to think that I’m an upfront win-win sorta guy. I operate like this:

“Here’s where we are going, here’s what we need and here’s what’s in it for you. How does that match with your objectives?”

Daniel Mumby
My goals concept

Stand your ground

In most cases, people wont necessarily tell you their objectives upfront. By being open and upfront about where you are heading, I can often find a “meeting of the minds”.

But when someone is belittling, rude, condescending, sarcastic, or just a flat-out @rse, you don’t have to be a doormat either.

That’s when having and using your intelligence, good humour, and articulate nature will serve you best.

Given that I write frequently on the topics of Fair, Open, Honest and Transparent (FOoT), I thought this was a good opportunity to highlight that we had clearly dodged a bullet in the case of this (lack of) service provider.

Some say that revenge is a dish best served cold. Others, with an invoice.

It’s their loss

Me? With a statement showing what they missed out on. Or perhaps the recognition that working with that person wasn’t the right fit for our vision or culture.

It’s not schadenfreude. It is more the reverse of it – gluckschmerz. The opportunity to provide another person with a big mistake or a great service moment is not lost on me.

But to the guy who rudely rejected us out of hand – and also the guy who influenced him by trash-talking me – here’s a polite but direct thank-you in the spirit of Frank Underwood.

What he missed out on

Our property projections for the three businesses are right on target. The demand for our business services – and the locations required to provide them – are exactly on track with our plans.

So he clearly missed the opportunity for a big commission.

Tell us about your Pretty Woman moment. How have you dodged a bullet with and conquered your fear of failure to prosper in a venture?