Sales Professional, Politically Correct, or Real

Yesterday I had an email exchange with Frank Belzer, who you probably know blogs as The SalesArchaeologist  and the host of Sales Talk Live. I didn’t decide to blog about it until Father Ron talked about political correctness in his homily.

First, excerpts from the exchange with Frank.

Sent: Saturday, August 28, 2010 7:41 AM
To: Frank Belzer
Subject: RE: Should We Continue Talking about …..

It can’t be more ‘tee-d up’ than that.


I read this and find myself asking myself – …..

(text deleted)



From: Frank Belzer
Sent: Saturday, August 28, 2010 7:54 AM
To: ‘Rick Roberge’
Subject: RE: Should We Continue Talking about ……


Respectfully, I hardly see this as “tee-d up”.

It looks like they encountered the same resistance as I did – (omitted) just decided to respond by sending a Roberge-esque email. I decided to ….. (text omitted)
I don’t think it will.

From: Rick Roberge
Sent: Saturday, August 28, 2010 8:13 AM
To: Frank Belzer
Subject: RE: Should We Continue Talking about …..

Thanks, Frank. Perhaps, “tee’d up” was the wrong word choice. What I was referring to was ……(omitted). Either way, we saved time.


You don’t need to use “respectfully” with me. You could start with “You’re doing it again.” Or “Did you read what you wrote before you clicked send?”

From: Frank Belzer
Sent: Saturday, August 28, 2010 8:40 AM
To: ‘Rick Roberge’
Subject: RE: Should We Continue Talking about …..

Well I do respect you and it’s not in my nature to not “pad” what I say.

I guess I look at this account differently ….. (omitted)

That’s all.

So, when I received the last email from Frank, I started thinking about Frank’s view of his relationship with me, whether he viewed it as ‘real’ and how it related to salespeople. Then we turn to comes Father Ron’s sermon. Be reminded that Father Ron’s been a priest for 50 years. He’s very well respected as well as being well liked. He started his sermon by walking out into the congregation, putting his hands on the top of two ladies’ heads that were sitting near the front of the church and told the congregation that these two ladies were both celebrating their birthdays that day. Then came a round of applause. Then he asked, “How old are you?” One of the ladies just looked at him. The other said, “39”. Then he started talking about political correctness and how our desire to be politically correct takes us in the wrong direction and we often end up in the wrong place. He shared several examples of church leaders being politically correct and winding up in the wrong place.

Now, Frank probably felt that “padding” his pushback was the professional thing to do or the polite thing to do, and it probably was, but think about your ‘real’ close relationships. Can’t they handle the truth? Don’t you think that they see and ignore the padding anyway? Is it really necessary? Remember Jack Nicholson talking to Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men? Tom Cruise wanted the truth and Jack Nicholson said, “…You can’t handle the truth!”

Think about your sales calls. Do you develop a ‘real’ relationship with your prospect, or would you call it professional or politically correct? Do you treat your prospect like they can’t handle the truth? Do you find yourself in a place where you’re afraid to tell your prospect or customer the truth? Is that the type of relationship that you want? Don’t you want to be real?

2 thoughts on “Sales Professional, Politically Correct, or Real

  1. Rick.this was an interesting post, obviously for me. I was debating about two possible responses.Response 1: You are an Idiot!Not my style is it? But that doesnt mean I am not being Honest nor does it mean that I dont like or Respect you.Response 2: Rick, I think there is a difference between honesty and a lack of tact. I also think that being polite and even padding something does not mean you are yielding to being politically correct. What is important is that people speak up and push back – how they choose to do that should be up to them. I personally feel that regardless of whether or not someone can “take it” or “handle the truth” should be irrelevant to what I do. I need to do what I believe is right and fair. I want to follow the Golden Rule.I guess you could call that integrity – also a valuable asset for sales people to develop? Sometimes your way is right and I have seen that many times, sometimes my approach is better and I have seen that too.

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