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Yesterday I sent a meeting request to a CEO. This morning I received the response.

Yesterday I sent a meeting request to a CEO. This morning I received the response. Drop dead!

UGH! How sad is that? What is he 10 years old? Actually, this is why I love sales. You never know where a conversation will take you. When selling, I love to utilize email. The receiver can read my correspondence at their convenience without interrupting their more pressing business endeavors. However, perhaps my email reached this CEO at the wrong moment during the day? Granted he did not ask for this email. I was making a sales call asking for his time. Perhaps he is just crogidy or inexperienced? No, he has been at the helm of this business for 30 years and certainly should know how to behave.  Perhaps he just does not like me?  No, everyone likes me. Surely that can’t be it!

The humor of this situation is the request was to discuss professional development training for him and his executive team “The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team.” Looks like the email might of hit a tender spot. Unfortunately mine not his. While my audience may not be as vast as his, my network of 30,000 executives are all potential customers of the company he leads. My company, Chief Executive Connections, could be a client of his. Who would take such a risk? Besides, everyone sells. As CEO of a company he is THE Sales Chief!!

As a CEO or business leaders we cannot afford to make such crass mistakes. Our approach and reaction speaks volumes to who we are as a person and the culture of the entity we run. When a salesperson comes calling, please remember how important sales is to every organization. We simply want to help our audience succeed. Please take the time to be kind. Be gracious. Give a professional response with a simple “no, thank you” or “please remove me” if a request does not fit your needs. It’s a big world out there and customers have choices.  As business leaders we have many worries and concerns but we are not alone. We all walk the same walk. Sales professionals are tough. We can handle rejection. What is simply not acceptable, is unprofessional words or behavior.

In today’s digital world, it is easy to misread intent in communications but written words have meaning. No excuses. To the CEO who callously responded that I should drop dead, I counter with an offer for free executive coaching. You, your employees and customers deserve better.

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