Sales 101: Beware the Dreaded Cell Phone Ringer
Some time ago, I stopped bringing my cell phone into presentations and sales calls. I want my customer or prospect to know that our meeting is the sole purpose for my visit and that his business is important to me. At that moment in time, his business is my only concern. My focus and attention are directed at him. This practice non-verbally states that I value and respect his time, conscious of the importance of our relationship
I recently made a sales call on a new prospect which was carefully investigated and researched prior to that initial visit. That call was quite fruitful, from the initial phone call requesting the appointment to my presentation itself. It set the stage for a secondary visit, a joint call with our factory representative of a complex electronic product line. I knew that this factory representative was skilled regarding his product line and came highly recommended from someone whom I respect. In other words, I felt prepared, "armed" and ready to engage this future customer in dialogue concerning his production operations and our opportunities to provide needed solutions.
Initial pleasantries proceeded as expected, thus we began asking detailed questions concerning their existing operation. Our prospect, the Engineering Manager for a well known second-tier automotive provider, had unexpectedly asked the production manager and a manufacturing engineer to join us. Although these additional individuals were quite welcome and I was excited to have this wonderful opportunity to be in front of so many key individuals at their plant, it soon became evident there would be a concern over the professional impression we would impart upon them.
You see, ten minutes into our presentation, the meeting was interrupted by my associate's unusual and loud cell phone ringer. He paused, retrieved his cell phone from his inside coat pocket and looked at the screen to see who was calling. Appearing disturbed, he further interrupted his presentation to the group, looking at his phone while saying "excuse me," and took the call, thus turning his back to the audience. Although his conversation had concluded in mere moments, the rude interruption left an obviously negative impression on our audience, setting an ominous tone for the remainder of the meeting. Unfortunately, my prospects knew exactly where they ranked on our scale of importance.
Few actions convey rudeness to another person or states "you are not nearly as important to me as I say you are" more than allowing a ringing cell phone to interrupt a personal conversation or business meeting. Even pausing to look at your phone while it rings or vibrates is rude and communicates the wrong message to the other person. When engaging someone else in dialogue, that person should be number one; he should feel like he has your undivided attention. If nothing else, it is simply common courtesy to remain attentive and focused on the other person or people participating in the conversation. It is expected professional behavior.
Some time ago, I stopped bringing my cell phone into presentations and sales calls. I want my customer or prospect to know that our meeting is the sole purpose for my visit and that his business is important to me. At that moment in time, his business is my only concern. My focus and attention are directed at him. This practice non-verbally states that I value and respect his time, conscious of the importance of our relationship. Any call that arrives during this time will be automatically routed to voice mail or to my office, ready for my immediate attention when later appropriate.
Look around; you will see this simple rule of etiquette violated quite often. Interestingly, you most likely have been on the receiving end of this behavior yourself. It rubs you the wrong way, doesn't it? Then make a difference. Break the mold. Give others your primary attention and focus on their needs. In the end, the minor inconvenience of responding to a new voice mail pales in comparison to the growing goodwill now established with your future customers and friends.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Sitter, author of both the popular, award-winning e-book, Learning For Profit, and the highly anticipated book, Superior Selling Skills, has extensive experience in sales, training, marketing and personal development over a successful 25 year career. http://www.learningforprofit.com Experience his blog at http://www.idea-sellers.com