What was he thinking?

Pam SaxonUp until now, during my 25+ years as a solopreneur, the very thought of cold calls always gave me the shivers and was never a viable option for me. Let’s face it: even ordering a pizza caused my stomach to do flips.

But for the past three or four months now, I have been making these calls regularly (thanks to Ilise’s Marketing Group – she calls them “research” calls, which really does make all the difference in the world) and I’ve actually come to enjoy it. I’m finding that people aren’t nearly as ogre-like as I had thought they might be, and the fact you are sitting here reading this is a testament that no one has hunted me down…yet.

BUT…there was a call recently that really threw me. It was one I would definitely classify as “nasty.” This person was ordered by his V.P. to talk to me, and he set the tone for our upcoming conversation through course, briefly-worded emails, using all caps.

You get the idea. I was dreading our conversation, but was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he just hated email.

No, he hated ME. During our meeting he interrupted me several times, and then when I wasn’t speaking he just sat there and said nothing. As soon as I started to speak again, he would interrupt. He drilled me about how I had “found” him and was very angry with his colleague who had played a role in connecting us. After the longest 5-minutes of my life, our meeting was over. I breathed a sign of relief and then immediately counted… I still had all my fingers and toes.

I knew I had to send a thank you note to him. Ugh. What to say? Thank you for being such a bully? After writing and rewriting and rewriting again, I decided a brief note, impersonal, simple, and to the point, was best. I let it sit overnight and hit “send” the next morning.

It immediately came back. “User unknown.” What? I knew I had the correct address. I tried again. “User unknown.” Okay, I’ll try replying to an email he had sent me earlier. “User unknown.” Did this mean he didn’t exist in the system anymore, or had he actually blocked my email address?

A few days later I learned he had left the company. Apparently, we had our meeting on his last day and his attitude had nothing to do with me. Yes, he took it out on me, but I could rest easy…I had done nothing wrong.

My big takeaway from all of this? To remember that I am always dealing with human beings and there is no way for me to know what the person on the other end is dealing with. I was very surprised to hear he was gone. No wonder he was upset. The last thing he wanted to do was deal with me. I can only hope I act bigger than that if I’m ever in that kind of position.

I still don’t like ordering pizza, though.

How about you? Do you have any stories to share?

BTW: The next round of Marketing Groups start the week of January 17. If you’re interested, fill out the form here.

5 thoughts on “What was he thinking?

  1. Lois

    Pam, I was sooo with you on making phone calls. I don’t know why – I LOVE talking to people. I am a total newbie as far as being a solopreneur. I got Ilise Benum’s e-Calendar just the other day and decided to take advantage of the emptier offices to get names and emails for the correct person to talk to in the organization. I was motivated and decided that the worst thing that could happen is someone would be rude to me. Instead, two days and about 12 calls in, I have found three (3) viable leads for work!!! No-one has been rude yet. (It is the holidays!) I know that it will happen, but, reading your post has helped me remember that everybody is allowed a bad day and that it doesn’t reflect on me.
    I’m sorry you had such a nasty experience, and I commend you for even trying to follow up with a thank you note. I am glad that his hostility was personal and not about you. I had a counselor say to me once: it’s pretty egotistical to think that everyone is concerned about me. It’s true and it’s helped me separate my sadness and anger when I feel someone has been mean to me…because, it’s usually not about me. Good luck to you in your further endeavors. I send you good mojo and hope that you find everything you want…and more!

  2. Pamela Saxon

    Lois, thank you so much for responding! I am so glad you are finding these calls to be worth your while. Three viable leads in two days is amazing! (You must be a natural). You know, I tend to believe that everyone is good at heart — it may be naive, but I truly believe that people are NOT like the cartoons we see: wringing their hands and arching their eyebrows while concocting their next evil deed. After all, even the most hardened criminals love someone, right?

    I would love it if you would keep us posted on how it is going for you. Just come back here and post an update. You never know who you might encourage!

  3. Jennifer

    Pam – you wrote: “I knew I had to send a thank you note to him.”

    Knew you “had to”?

    It was good that you did, because you learned something about the guy’s backstory.

    But – really – if you had been that rude to someone, would you expect a thank you from them?

    As Ilise once said, “Follow-up implies interest.” In this case, why spend another minute on that man, crafting a thank you note?

    I guess what I’m asking is, why do we have to expect over-the-top politeness from ourselves in situations like these? Not saying it’s not good to be polite – it obviously is. And perhaps you were being extra-polite for the sake of some other contact you have at that company. But I’m talking more about the value of saving time and moving on quickly.

  4. Pamela Saxon

    Jennifer, you bring up a really, really good point here, and one that I think deserves its own post. But to quickly address your question… yes, I do have another connection at that company I am going to pursue. But even if I did not know of anyone specifically to contact, I still would have sent a thank you. Why? Not for him, but for myself. Especially in situations like this (granted, this is my first one of this magnitude), I feel it is important to tie things up and have some sense of completion.
    Writing a very short note was a quick way for me to do that.

    I do agree with you about moving on, and the value of saving time. And, if the guy had hung up in my ear a thank you would not have been an option. I think we all have to know where we individually draw that line in the sand.

    Thanks for bringing this up!

  5. Ilise Benun

    Excellent discussion, Ladies, and I do think the question of when to send a thank you/follow up would make a great post, Pam…or anyone who wants to write it!

    I had the same reaction as Jennifer (which makes sense, since she’s quoting me) when you told me you sent a thank you. I don’t know if I would have. But clearly, it’s a good thing you did. And having another contact at the company is a good reason to do so.

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