What Do You Do About Ignorant Phone Boors?

Is it just me or are people getting ruder and more insensitive? Have common decency and what would once have been accepted as good manners gone out of the window? Or am I, at 42, just becoming a grumpy old man? I’m sure you will all have your opinions! You might indeed wonder why I am asking and what on earth this has to do with sales and success? Well, in my opinion, quite a lot. Sales is a relationship game after all so everything that you do and how you are perceived will impact upon your reputation, your relationships, your sales and your success.

I was thinking about this last week when I was reading a post on Randy Gage’s Blog about the uses and abuses of mobile phones and then I received this cry for sales advice and help…

Hi Gavin,

Last year I attended several of your motivational sales sessions which dealt with most of the problems and objections I’ve encountered in the past. However there’s an emerging habit in sales meetings that I’m having trouble with and I wonder if you have any thoughts on how to deal with it:

In the past few weeks I’ve had a number of product demo meetings with prospects who nowadays all seem to have Blackberry or similar ‘smartphones’ placed on the meeting table in front of them. Some even have two – presumably one receiving emails and the other one to talk into(?).

Although my prospects have (mostly) had the good grace to put them on silent, these devices buzz every minute or so with every received email; prompting the owner to divert their attention away from my presentation each time to see if it’s something urgent, and then return to my talk with a “sorry, where were we?”. Its driving me nuts as its becoming impossible to run smoothly through a pitch and I end up going over information several times to make sure they haven’t missed anything important.

If these people were subordinates or peers in my organisation I could politely (or impolitely) request they ignore or turn these devices off; but when you are a vendor having a first time meeting with a potential customer in their office – different rules obviously apply.

Have other people encountered this problem and are there any subtle ways of dealing with it without causing offence?

I doubt that there is anyone reading this who does not empathise with the question and I certainly have my strategies but what are yours? How do you deal with this situation? What would you do? Are you a phone boor yourself?

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