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.


  1. 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?


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


  3. 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)


  4. 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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