Conversational boundaries

Any phone call from a sales rep that includes more than one of the following:

A) Overt whining from the sales rep,

B) Repeated insistence that “I’ve been doing this for 40 years” as justification for something I’m arguing with,

C) Refusal to end the conversation when I express, for the fifth time that I am not the right person to talk to, that I have provided you with the correct contact information, and that I don’t want to talk to you,

D) Me responding to your disclosure that my employee is not calling you back with “”So, are you just calling to complain about my employee? Because I’ve told you several times I won’t be the one making this decision, and that I don’t micromanage my staff, and that vendor choice is [X]’s decision to make. So I’m not sure what you want from me. Are you asking me to go reprimand my employee? I won’t be doing that.”

E) Repeatedly saying “well I guess I know when I’m being told NO” while still talking about what I just said “no” about,

F) Which is then followed by a whiny rant telling me why the competitor’s product is subpar and therefore how we’ve clearly made the wrong decision.

… will get me to hang up on you.

Just FYI.


  • Jenica Reply

    And don’t think it’s lost on me: He WAS trying to get me to reprimand my employee.

    • Andromeda Reply

      arrrrrrrrgh *stabby* *stabby* *stabby*

  • Stephen Francoeur Reply

    Wonder if he then called your boss so you could get reprimanded. And on and on he went.

    • Jenica Reply

      The Provost and President will be thrilled to get those calls, I’m certain.

  • Cathy Doyle Reply

    Or my recent favorite, who wanted me to sell the nursing department on his product of marginal usefulness…

  • Dorothea Reply

    A thought to ponder: Would this experienced sales rep use these tactics if they never WORKED?

    What are we doing to our colleagues, that these tactics apparently work?

  • Lisa Hinchliffe Reply

    I suspect they work a disappointingly high percent of the time… and, in fact, I would guess that employees are threatened with it.

  • Chris Bourg Reply

    I flat out don’t take phone calls. Period. You call me, I email you and ask you tell me what you wanted.
    (well, except my wife. I take her phone calls … I’m not that stupid)

    • Jenica Rogers Reply

      If I hadn’t been waiting for another vendor to get back to me, I would have let it go to voicemail. Alas.

  • Jenica Rogers Reply

    Dorothea and Lisa, that thought makes me SO SAD. People deserve better than to know their managers will be complicit in this kind of bullying.

  • K.G. Schneider (@kgs) Reply

    I don’t know. Maybe these tactics never work but they’re supposed to use them. Because I hang up on these people.

  • Andy Reply

    Maybe they were hoping to get a blog post about them. 😀

  • Heather Whalen Smith Reply

    May I add…

    Do not talk condescendingly. “Was Santa good to us this year?” is not the appropriate way to ask if I have yet found/cleared with my VP additional funding for your product.

    Please, keep voice mails brief, but do include your name, company, and your phone number (which should be stated slowly and ideally repeated) followed by a brief explanation for your call. If I cannot write down your phone number because you rattled it off at high speeds, you are unlikely to get a reply from me.

    Do not call my multiple times a week in an attempt to make a sale. You then become the vendor I avoid thanks to the magic of caller id.

    Do not gossip about other libraries/librarians to me and do not gossip about my library to other librarians because it will get back to me.

    Do not try to make a sale by saying thinks like “but library X is doing it.” I am then tempted to say “Well if library X jumped off a bridge…” We are not library X and we do not have the same needs as library X.

    Do not ask librarians/directors to hunt down the person that made a negative tweet about your company or product.

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