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Sales Tips From Jonathan London

Prospects and Customers Are So Damn Rude or Bend Over and Smile

Posted on Tue, May 01, 2012

Prospects and Customers are Rude and Disrespectful

What do 6:15 AM (AM, I repeat AM) and 12:40 PM have in common?

It is when a happy customer that I have a very good relationship with, and I like very much,and a prospect were incredibly rude and disrespectful.

It is when one of my UK customers didn't show up for, or notify me that he wouldn't show up for a meeting at 6:15 AM EST.

It is when a prospect’s decision maker of a VERY BIG COMPANY, in front of 4 of his people, and me, the seller and one of his 3 finalists:

  • walked out of a presentation
  • 2 minutes after it started
  • without notice, comment or apology

HOW DARE THEY! What must they think of salespeople, or their potential partners if they treat them with such disrespect! I know in both cases they were busy (everybody is always busy) and in the first case, was called away by their CEO. I also know that my customer thinks I will understand since we know and like each other. I think he knew I was going to get the order we were discussing, and I did.

In the second case, I think his boss pulled him away? It could have been a personal issue (I hope not) but nobody really knew where he was or where he went. Maybe in this case the decision maker trusts the other people implicitly and didn't need to be there. Maybe he is always that way. I don’t know. It happened so quickly. He was literally there one second and gone the next, I was shocked.

But in either or any instance, couldn't they at least:

  • give notice as soon as possible to reschedule
  • apologize, yes apologize about the situation at the time, or at least afterwards, explain   what happened with an email, call, chat, smoke signal, pigeon carrier. Something?
  • try and tell their boss they have a previous commitment they want to keep and can they wait for 28 minutes.

In either, and most instances of a similar nature, there is rarely something a salesperson can do about it but smile and ask how much further they should bend over.

Sure I could have made note of the time I got up and asked the customer to be a bit more respectful. Or in the case of the prospect, let him know that I had worked about 14 hours and changed my, and my wife’s schedule to accommodate him. Or maybe he didn't want to see or hear me in the first place, or I did or said something in the first 2 minutes to turn him off. It’s possible. Maybe he doesn’t like Albert Brooks the comedian which is how I started my presentation.

I could also tell the prospect how amazingly disrespectful it is to treat somebody they are considering to be a partner with in that manner. I could tell them I don't want to do business with anybody or company that would treat me like that. I could tell them to take a flying you know what but that would have been disrespectful to the others.

When the prospect’s decision maker left, and I told everybody (yes I am a Dominant personality type) I would like to wait till he gets back because of the short time of their decision process, and the presentation, I was asked if I wanted to reschedule. I said no. Maybe I should have said yes, it that was a real option. Maybe I should have said no, thanked them for their time, expressed my opinion, picked up my stuff and walked out the door.

I should have handled it like an objection. I should have paused, asked respectfully what happened, if he was coming back, should we wait, what do they suggest we do. But I didn’t, because:

  • I was literally shocked at the lack of respect
  • have either been in there shoes (though never that rude), 
  • know how crazy things are in today’s world
  • or because I want the sale so badly and don't want to compromise my chances

Where do you stand? What would you do? What have you done? Please comment (below pictures). Thanks.

Tags: Prospecting, b2b lead generation, Sales Productivity, Presentations