Business to Business

Just as with any business, an important aspect of what I do is sales.  And as a part of what I do to market my business every day, I make cold-calls.  In some weeks, I may place as many as 500 cold calls to a wide-variety of businesses.  I prefer to operate in this “business to business” environment, because it is what I have known for the majority of my life.  Yet, there is one thing about this B2B relationship that baffles me.

Isn’t there a mutual respect accorded among  business people?  When I call you to offer what I clearly feel is a valuable solution to help you grow your business; I am doing so in a manner of the utmost professionalism.  Yet I am often met with rudeness.  Granted, it is often a  person who is of the opinion  that  a website would be a waste of time and money.  But even still, is there not a more professional and cordial way to handle this situation?  When a potential customer calls and asks for a product that you do not offer, do you tell them they are stupid for asking?  Or if you are backlogged with work for several weeks, do you tell a caller to quit wasting your time because you do not need their business?  Of course you don’t.  So why  treat a fellow business owner in that way simply because you may think you are not interested in the service they have to offer?

I understand that a cold solicitation is an interruption and sometimes a distraction. But simply asking for a 2 minute explanation to understand what the call is all about is preferable to rudeness. Even if we put professionalism aside for a moment, how about doing what makes good business sense?  What if I am, in addition to being a website developer who is cold-calling your business, also a potential customer?  What if I am presently in need of the products or service that you offer, and you choose to treat me with disrespect?  And moreover, if I am insulted by the way you treat me, does it not stand to reason that I might tell other friends, family, and associates that they should not patronize your business?  What kind of impact could that have on your bottom-line?

I am never dishonest, but there are some times when I truly am a potential customer of a business I am calling.  And I make it a habit to always endeavor to do business with people who do business with me.  So when the opportunity presents itself to tell the business owner that I am also a potential customer, I often times hear the very tone of their voice change.  I guess it is just sad but true that a business owner might react so quickly, without thinking, until they are presented with the possibility that there might be some immediate business on the other end of the phone.

So perhaps, in the end, there is a very basic lesson to learn in all of this.  In the spirit of the writing, “everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten,” we should ask ourselves, “can’t we all just play nice?”  Having an effective online presence  is, after all, a wise business practice and so is demonstrating a respectful degree of professionalism.

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Published in: on September 19, 2008 at 11:27 PM  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Amen!! Great point. I am General Manager for a Sales and Distribution Center for a large company and I find much of the same attitude prevalent in our business as well. In my opinion, business people that treat anyone, let alone other business people, with this type of disregard risk their place on the cutting edge (if they are currently there) or will never get there if they aren’t because they just treated the business owner or sales person of the “next best thing” in a manner that not only says ” no thanks” to your offer, but burns any potential bridge to a future endeavor.

  2. Clem I’m guessing that at it’s root the rudeness to sales people making cold calls is caused by business owners who simply have a problem saying no. It’s unfortunate but the only solution may be to look forward to the day when your business will be built up enough to make cold calling no longer necessary. This is a solid and candid post from the cold caller’s perspective. Any business owners out there willing to argue the other side?


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