Many vendors offer the phrase, “Thank you for your time…” when starting or completing a meeting with a customer, often adding “I know your time is valuable…” This is courteous, but positions the vendor beneath the customer, in terms of relative importance.
A very successful salesperson (thanks, Carol!) once shared the following advice that I continue to apply today:
She asked me, “Isn’t your time just as valuable as the customer’s?” I responded, “Of course it is…”
She then offered a better way starting and closing meetings. She suggested saying, “I’m glad we are [or were] able to invest this time together today…”
This positions both parties as equals – regardless of whether you are speaking with an executive, middle manager, staff member or system administrator. What a delightful idea!