Inaction Becomes Approval

Posted by: Steve Marr in Management on Jan 19, 2015

Tagged in: Untagged 

I recently encountered a thorny issue with a company I work with. I will avoid the specifics because I want to protect the confidentiality of others. I assist a company to market a product as a side business. I do some of their advertising and sales and earn a commission from each sale.

Advertising is a key part of my efforts. I create and use my own advertisements and pay for the exposure. I sent “Linda” the sample advertisement last July for review with a request to let me know if they had any changes they wanted or had any issues with the content. They confirmed receipt of the ad and never raised any issues. I took this as approval.


I made two large sales for Linda’s company.  However, when I invoiced her; she refused to pay the commission. Her position was that my advertisement was too much like her own website. She believed that my ad took traffic and leads that would have come to her.

Part of my response was to remind her that I had sent the advertisement content in July asking for to review and advise me concerning changes or concerns. As part of my process I explained to Linda the steps I was taking, how I would advertise, and what my marketing budget involved. My point was that if she had issues, she needed to tell me then. Furthermore, when she received the first closed deal and was going to refuse to pay commission, she should have told me immediately; not wait until a second sale came through.

Additionally I explained to Linda that I rewrote the ad copy in an effort to increase the effect, and I paid for search engine optimization to increase web traffic and leads.

If you go out to dinner and believe the meat is over cooked, you don’t eat most of the meat before sending it back for another steak. If after few bites you decide to keep eating, you lose the opportunity to request a replacement.

Scripture relates an example. “’Make up your mind,’ Moab says. ‘Render a decision.’”  (Isaiah 16:3a, NIV) When you encounter an issue and choose not to act promptly, you forfeit the right to complain. You may have a legal right or warranty time to act, but in principle; you must be prompt. I believe that Linda was happy to sit on the first invoice while watching the second sale closely. She likely knew that if she bounced the first bill quickly, I would stop my efforts to make the second sale.

Additionally, King Solomon wrote, “When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people's hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong.” (Ecclesiastes 8:11, NIV) If someone offends you or wrongs you, be responsible to act quickly. Otherwise, you can expect more of the same. When you encounter an issue, confront the problem candidly and promptly. Otherwise, you forfeit the right to complain later.

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