Your complete guide to delivering bad news without losing the positive connection with your buyers. (Do this right and it even has the power to deepen and strengthen your business relationships.)

Still connected (how to deliver bad news)

In today's post, you're going to discover how to use a simple formula to deliver bad news - like a delay of a shipment - in a smart way.

Here's a question:

"Do you ONLY provide good news to your clients?"

Just kidding.

Crazy, of cause, we all need to face the challenge to convey negative news to our clients now and then.


Sometimes even devastating information.

This is real life after all.

Le's take some super long deep breath.

I'm here to make this process as pain-free and hopefully as insightful as possible. I promise you no matter how intimidating you think it is - you absolutely can do this. And I really do mean this. You ARE in a position to master that. While being of the highest of service to your buyers.


In fact, do this right and you even have the power to lift your relationship.

So, no matter what your experience with angry buyers is or has been I want you to know that you're in a perfect position to do it.
It's a skill to cultivate.

I'm going to teach you a simple and intuitive method that leverages your existing abilities as a garment exporter, merchandiser, sales guy, or buying house owner.

Because it happens. The truth is there are not always favorable and positive matters to deliver to your clients.
Despite nobody wanting it. Unexpected things can happen in several ways. Especially in our industry... Delays of shipments, quality issues, you name it...

Or you might not agree with your customer's expectation. Or a certain request. And you have to communicate that somehow. Do you agree? Now and then we have to deliver bad news.

For sure, nobody likes to receive uncomfortable information. And nobody likes to deliver negative messages just as much. Nobody likes it. It has never been easy.


So what I mean with bad news is it's pretty much all those buyers don't like to hear.

„You will not get the advertising articles on time.“

„The inspection is not passed.“

„The prices will increase.“

and so on...


That‘s unpleasant and nobody likes to hear this. Of cause, this formula we are talking about is not making the negative news vanish. This no formula can and of cause. The negative news remains.

However, it helps and makes it easier than your customer can take and accept them. For that reason, I recently tried out the Still-Connected-Formula - with great success. It works - even when you need to deliver worst-case information.

Since you want to keep your customers' relationships healthy and stable.



Sandwich feedback is stupid

You know what the "sandwich feedback" is. You've probably heard about it.

It goes like this:  First of all, we tell a person something positive. Or a compliment. Something nice. We go on and, in the middle, we put the bad thing.  That's the thing we actually want to talk about. Finally, in the end, all will be wrapped up again with a positive statement.

So, the bad news is wrapped in two positive messages. Like the cheese is wrapped in bread from the upper and lower sides. A sandwich.

This model is supposed to soften the difficult matter. Protect someone's feelings. Or the situation as a whole.

Does it work out?

I experienced it does not.

Often the two positive messages are said and meant without real context to the actual situation.

Like: „Thanks for what you did yesterday, I really appreciate this, BUT ....“

And here‘s the thing: After hearing the BUT we tend not even to hear the first message.

Or sometimes even understand it in contrary. That‘s actually one of the consequences of this kind of communication.

We get into an alarming stage when we hear boot-licking words. We see it coming. It's so obvious. We literally expect a bad message in the middle - we almost hear the big „BUT“- lurking to get us. We think: „O.k. when is the bad point coming?“

That‘s why sandwich feedback doesn't bring the desired effect.


The Simple Still-Connected-Formula

What works better? You want to make a big positive impact even when the situation is tough. Plus, you want your customers relationships to keep growing for many years to come.

The simple Still-Connected-Formula is based on two psychological recall principles for human beings.


People remember what they hear at first.

And what they hear at last.

The middle is generally not remembered so clearly.


I believe what's most important is with what you leave your customer at the end.

What direction is thereafter receiving the bad news for your client?



How to put the Still-Connected-Formula in action

Show some good intent

If you meet in person select a quiet place or if you speak on the phone, do some friendly talk upfront. Show them that you’re an ally.

That you’re on their side and that you want their success. Signal that your intention is good.


Tell the bad news as it is. Plain. Frank. Direct.


“We will not be able to deliver your catalog article on time.“

„The price for this repeat article will increase this season.“

„We don‘t agree to point 4 of the contract.”


Appreciate and value the reason why it's so important for your buyer

Signal your understanding that you thought about it- that you really considered this situation. With this, you appreciate your customer as well as a person.

Your buyer is valuable to you. And this is your proof. Emphasize again that you recognize your client’s wish, expectation, and need. That you understand.

Now place BUT consciously.



Offer three alternatives and possible solutions

These three potential solutions can be implemented right away. Show your concern and understanding again.

Try to find three positive matters. So bad news first – then the BUT:

“But we thought about your wish. And we like you to know that we thought about an alternative how it will be possible. At least part of it.”

„But we know about the importance for you and like to offer you A, B or C…“



Positive track

You might wonder that it sounds like a really long chain sentence? No worries, because psychological this is happening:

Bad news first.

Then the word BUT.

You already know that all that is in front of BUT is weakened.

When you add three positive changes of direction you offer the possibility to your buyer to balance it against the negative information.

Which loses a bit of its horror.

The most important psychological effect tough is, that you point on a positive track.


And here's the thing... as a result you don‘t leave your client hanging with bad news in the rain. You initiate in the brain of your partner already a positive direction of thinking.

Hence, you're not focusing on the bad message but on workable solutions. Because you thought already about potentially acceptable alternatives. The key is you remain activity-oriented with their best interest at heart.


Practical Example

Here's what is happening in many cases emotionally





Furthermore, I tried it out and it worked really well. Do it a few times, get a feeling for the strategy and you'll use it again and again. Promise.


To sum-up

There's nothing crazy special about this Still-Connected-Formula. It's just being intentional about how you deliver bad news.

A key part of this Still-Connected-Formula is that it's showing real empathy and is looking ahead. I specifically love the actionable part of it.

Therefore, acknowledging what happened without bells and whistles but not looking back too much. Like: "That's the situation and that is our suggestions on how we possibly can deal with it."


The Still-Connected-Formula in a powerful cheatsheet

You know me. I created an ultra-practical FREE RESOURCE that you will find incredibly useful. I’ve got it all laid out in a powerful way that you can take and make your own. With word-for-word examples.

All you have to do is follow the system and you’ll be good to go!

  • The single biggest thing you can add to your communication that your buyers will still see your good intent, integrity and maintain the business relationship with you. (Do this right and it even has the power to deepen and strengthen your business relationship.)
  • A smart way to answer your buyer's objections before they've even had time to verbalize them.
  • Why everybody in garment export should have a powerful formula handy, especially if you want your customers‘ relationships to keep growing for many years to come.




Like to try this? I‘d love to hear from you about your experiences...

Keep going and do something awesome today that will help you reach your goals with your business, and in life.

Thank you for reading this article. It wasn't short and you made it to the end.

Talk soon,




NEW! Save your spot for the next free live masterclass.

If you love this and you like to dive deeper join the guestlist for my next free live online training.

How to create an irresistible company introduction to build relationships fast with RMG buyers from Europe.

There's an art to cold outreach to RMG buyers. And a science. And we're going to cover both.

Let's get you some new buyers, shall we? Click here to save your spot.





Hello Heike,

Hope you are well. Thanks again for nice article and really this suggestion will be very helpful for our business because continuously we are facing this problem.

Your direction is very nice because you are a good director.




    91 replies to "The powerful Still-Connected-Formula: How to deliver bad news – like a request for an extension of time to deliver goods for garment buyers"

    • Sajib Z Rahman


    • I realy like the subjects you are selecting for your articles. The way you direct it is also inspiring and always eye opener for s new way to think about it. Thanks and keep on the good job. Thumps up

    • Shakib


      What if I have to ask extension much longer that shipment may have risk of discount and air shipment on my cost?


        Yes relevant question thanks … Anybody likes to share views on that topic?

        • Md.Elahy Hossain

          Yes, i am likes this question.

      • Apparel sourcing Agent

        Often client open L/C earlier than real expected receiving date of goods. Clients knows it can be, I mean dealyed shipment; they keep time for their own safty also. Suppose, production samples did not approved or goods did not pass in final inspection; but client needs the goods, they will work for solution and if really they can, they always do. If you gave good relation with clients, they will share with you or will find a way.


          thanks a lot

    • Muhammad Imran Sajid

      Its really good thing & it can work .Its all about ATTITUDE!

    • Jawad

      Hi Heike,
      Your articles are really good and relevant to today’s issues

    • Paroar

      Hi Heike
      your topics is relevant and make them understand regarding the said issue.

    • Sohel

      Important topics! Bad experiences are very common in our track. As of my personal experience, faced bad news everyday work from suppliers side & yes this is common & we can’t avoid sometimes. But the most important thing is, should not hide, nourish a problems from superiors or buyer which surely goes worse! Must need to share & take suggestions from them or go for immediate solution at preliminary stage. But sometimes we can’t avoid last minute surprises/ problems! For those cases I like them who take initiatives as——
      straightly informed about problems->valid reason->a positive solution for recovery…

    • it’s a very good article specially for us who are working in this sector with a lot of dreams. just carry on. thank you so much.

    • Thabks ,seems interesting n helpful ….

    • Kishore Benedict Costa

      upps !!!!! its really a interesting & fruitful article.
      Txs for such a helpful tips. Waiting for further …….

    • Usman

      Wow, this is so good.

    • Elahi

      What an tremendous effort. I wanna more. I think such kind of article can be helps me many ways.. please keep it up.. and finally many thanks.

    • Tareq Hasan Kha

      Very useful blog.

    • Belle

      Hi Heike
      your topics is very nice.

    • Shahpius


    • Shamim Saif

      Good jobs

    • It is nice topics for all

    • Hasan Imam Chowdhury


    • mohammed quamruzzaman

      Heike Siegel, thanks for your mail, simply it is nice tropic

    • Mohashin

      Good , nice to meet with you.

    • Nazmul Hasan

      upps !!!!! its really a interesting & fruitful article.
      Txs for such a helpful tips. Waiting for further …….

    • Yes this is a beneficial for all business man as I agreed

    • M Touqeer Khan

      Inconvenience situation always most annoying; in this article you did a very good job. I hope so in future we will handle such kind of situations more effectively with the help of this type articles. Please carry on. Thanx

    • Rajendra Puranik

      Simplicity simplified right ways . . . indeed very helpful & easy to adopt

    • Sohail

      Hi Heike,
      Please keep on posting such articles.
      I really appreciate your efforts to help us to think in different way.

    • kapil Dhar

      Hi Heike,
      It’s really helpful for all Gmt expoter.
      pls keep continue. Thanks.

    • Foiz Md.Foisal Amin

      It’s a great offer, thanks.

    • Hi Heike,

      It is indeed helpful.
      Wud luv to hear from you in near future too.

      Best regards,


    • dora

      professional and convincing

    • jatin

      Its really helpful. Pls. Keep it up. Eagerly waiting for next article.

    • jatin

      Its really liked your post. Pls. Keep it up. Eagerly waiting for next article.

    • baber hunnain

      Really nice

    • congratulation to you for nice cooperation

    • Shakil Hossan

      That is great idea for business promotion.
      Thanks alot…

    • Md. Toki Tahmid

      Its really helpful post. Great..!!

    • rashidul

      Thank you so much for your cooperation.

    • Sathish

      Much impressed with this article,Looks Good & Useful

    • Sudath Mahanama

      I trust that this new strategy would be a very good eye opener for most of us which could be applied in each and every conversation in any field in our whole life time.

      One of the most fantastic ideas, which I have come across in the recent past!

      Loads of thanks to the “Universe” to give you more and more brilliant thoughts!

    • Md. Shohel Rana

      I would like to this…..When confirm start this way

    • Mehdi Hassan

      Hi Heike
      Hope you will be fine. I pray for your long healthy & wealthy life. You seems to be such a great teacher in our profession.
      It’s really a great help for all professionals.
      Thanks a lot
      Keep it up

    • Jitender

      Hope u are doing well .

      Have a good day.


    • S.M.Zahid

      Hope your are will. I hope your nice co operation.

      Have a Great day to you.


    • Maruf

      Hi Heike

      Hope you will be fine. I pray for your long healthy & wealthy life.


    • Uttom J.Cruze

      it’s nice.

    • Shankar

      Its really helpful. Pls. Keep it up. Eagerly waiting for next article.

    • It,s really nice article.

    • Sohail Qureshi

      Sooooooper …

    • Md. Asaduzzaman Ridoy

      hi heike

      your article iss very good and helpful for us. You are such a great teacher for me.

      Md. Asaduzzaman Ridoy

    • Dear Heike

      Thanks , its good Artical for all the people who are in this field, keep it up good job

    • Anbu - Sri Ashwin Tex

      Nice to To Follow so that we can keep our customer always with us.

    • helen

      This is vary bad because of this day relation is mater.

    • Hai Heike

      your article is very good and helpful for us, Thanks and keep it up.

    • Azad

      Hi Heike,
      Thanks. your advise is very nice it is help for us. We will follow accordingly.


    • Muralidharan

      Hi Heike, You hit the rock bottom which quite often is not discussed in most of the platforms. It gives idea how to deal in bad situation. Great. Thanks.

    • Nice topic though . Considering risk and on time delivery there should always be a second then third and fourth plan like A, B C …..and so on. If this was set in the very early stage with the client Vs the Supplier I believe it will work and will be acceptable from both End. Finally all these works are man made. SO where there is a will, there is a way…

      Keep up your good works

    • Subhasis

      good article !

    • Narayanan

      Great innovation suggestion to uplift the business.
      Will it be possible to get us some routing and clientele please.

      • Javed Qamar

        Hi Heike

        Well great option for garment field people thanks.

    • Lelin Khan

      Hi Heike,

      Awesome blog. thanks for the tips. It gives idea how to deal in bad situation. Great.

      With Thanks


    • This is really helpful article. Thanks Heike Siegel

    • durairaj

      Dear Heike,
      Good Morning.Happy to have you as friend.I will consistently see your marketing tips.I am heading innovation incubation and entrepreneurship department of one eminent university in India.I have 27 years expertise in knitwear industry.Feel proud to be your friend Heike.
      Thanking you,
      with regards,

    • Bilal

      Hi, choose a good link for marketing in this fast competition world. Marketing is major sector in any organisation to get a correct biz for there industries and do commitment to produce a right products which was the requirement by client today’s. In other ways marketing is a tool to build a relations b/w the peoples to get closed…..wish you all the best to helping choose the right way with equally partixipations to closed the world peoples in a one chain
      …. This is the marketing !!!!!


      WOW NICE

    • Gaurav Chaturvedi

      Dear Heike

      Hope you are well!

      Awesome blog.

      It gives idea how to deal in bad situation. Great.

      The great future belongs to those who have strong vision and determination.
      And it doesn‘t matter where are you now,
      Starting well and finishing strong is all that matters.
      Wishing all the best to you!

      Many thanks

    • Faysal Ahammed

      Hi Heike,

      it’s really profoundly great article which can contribute Marketing people in eternal life without any hesitation.

      I am appreciating you.


    • Md. Shidul Alam Rana

      Hi Heike

      This not only a good but also a great article and i am really appreciating.


    • Arif Uddin

      Hi Heike,

      Nice article, it’s really helpful for all merchandiser including me. you know some times we’ve to face very bad situation when buyer cancel the order for minor fault. how can we face that situation. can you pls explain. thanks!!

    • Walid Ebna Rosher

      I appreciate rules, thanks

    • Mu.Arafat



      Hope you fine !
      This very help full article
      Thanks for this

    • Khorshed alam mallick

      Hi Heike,
      Have a good day,
      Hope this is a nice trick,

      Best regards
      Khorshed Alam Mallick
      Quazi Abedin Tex Ltd.
      QA group
      Savar, Bangladesh


      Hi Heike,
      Nice article with your key words….

    • Sudath Mahanama

      Very true. A business relationship should be very transparent.
      If we encounter any problem, we have to share it with our buyers well in advance as they have to get appropriate precautions rather than have a big hit at the end!

      This is the main foundation of a healthy long term business relationship.

      Sudath Mahanama

    • Moshiul Alam

      Communication is main thing for any kinds of business between both party. This article definitely help for each party (one for addressing and another party for absorption) rather than following traditional method. Thanks and keep continue with such effective thoughts.

    • M. Aamir Hussain

      Thx for contact us.

    • Md. Mosharaf Hossain Sarker

      Very halpfull this idea for me.
      If needed extension like one month or more how to write.

      • Md. Mosharaf Hossain Sarker thanks for your message. Yes, if you’d like to ask for an extension, that’s exactly the formula you can use as well.

    • Mir Hasan Morshed

      Very useful article.
      Thanks a ton.

    • Good for new learner

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