Abrasive vs. Sensitive Tenacity

I had a couple of interactions on Friday that you might find interesting.

Joe and Harry both attended our Executive Luncheon on November 7th. Both answered Dave’s questions on their index card and both asked for a follow up phone call. I called both on November 8th.

When I called Joe, his receptionist answered, asked who I was, where from, what it was about. So, I told her that Joe had requested a call to follow up on the Luncheon and I was it. She went away and came back and told me that Joe had no recollection of requesting a call, so I should tell her specifically what I wanted. I told her that I thought that Joe would probably laugh when he realized why I was calling, but told her, “No problem.” and hung up. Then I sent him a copy of his handwritten note requesting the call with a copy of his business card and my contact info. He didn’t call. I tried a couple of times over the past month, but he never took nor returned a call.

Finally, Friday, I tried one more time and he answered. When I said my name, he recognized it immediately and when I told him that this was his follow up call, he asked if he could ask a question first. I said sure and he came back with, “Are you always as abrasive as you were with Lisa?” I asked, “Abrasive?” and he asked if it was a tactic or my personality. He didn’t want to talk about any of the issues that he pointed out on his index card, but wanted to talk about how important he was, and how important it was that I answer Lisa’s questions. I ended the call pretty quickly when he told me that he would take David Kirkland’s call, but didn’t have anything to say to me.

I wonder how his salespeople would handle a gatekeeper like Lisa?

I wonder how many possible solutions don’t get through Lisa?

Joe has a very successful business, so he may have just been curious.

We’ll never know.

Harry, had a slightly different course of events.

I called on November 8th and left a message. No response.

I sent and email on 11/14, to which he responded, “Rick. I am in nyc until next week. I’ll call and sched phone conversation next week.”

We haven’t connected. On Friday, I sent this email, “I just called your cell phone, but did not leave a message. You might be interested in my recent blog post. https://therainmakermaker.com/2007/12/03/entrepreneurs-1-problem.aspxI looked at your website. You run a very substantial company. Let me make it easy for you. Reply with a couple of choices of times (between 6AM and 11 PM) to talk this week. I’ll pick one. or Reply with, “Please stop calling.”

He replied with, “Rick: My partner in Hartford is picking this up, and yes, we remain interested in hearing about your sales profiling tools. Thanks for your sensitive tenacity – it come across well.”

So, am I abrasive, or do I have sensitive tenacity?

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3 thoughts on “Abrasive vs. Sensitive Tenacity

  1. Now who’s going on your own website to tell you that you’re abrasive? Or are you looking for affirmation of your tenacity? LOL – I gather neither! I think these scenarios are less about you and your sales style and more about the individuals you are conversing with. Did Joe really have a need – or did he just want some ego stroking by the CEO of another company calling to solicit business? Harry also seemed to have a need but didn’t respond to your voice mails but he remembered them when he responded to your email. Seems like a timing/priority issue for him. Of course, you’re selling sales coaching so I’m sure both Joe & Harry are critiquing your sales style to see if you can walk your sales talk!- Michael

  2. Great post. Knowing myself, I might have tried to accommodate Lisa, but I don’t know if that’s the right answer. Based on the “suspects” reaction he might not be the type of open minded individual that you would be looking to work with, but it’s so hard to say if maybe you just caught him at a bad moment. The second one, “Harry” was just brilliant. I have always been taught to air on the side of aggression… however the longer you/I are in the biz it’s easy to forget that.

  3. I love the examples. Sounds like you’re sometimes abrasive and sometimes sensitively tenacious. If you’re always pushing the envelope, you’ll sometimes cross the line. When you have a negative experience (as in #1 above), it’s tempting to draw back and stop pushing as much as you might have otherwise. I’m with Jill in that it’s easy to pull back after getting knocked around a bit. A good reminder to see “push back” as a good sign that we’re keeping things sharp.

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