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Willful Ignorance (and other annoying traits)

I’ve been talking with a lot of internal support people lately.
Salespeople, you know – the team of people that ensure your prospects and customers actually get what they’re expecting: information, technical support, product delivered, post-sale support, the list goes on and on.
It may color your behavior to think that without sales they don’t have a job… and yet without THEM, we fail too.
Perhaps that is why I’ve always seen the relationship as symbiotic with the goal/result = getting prospects and customers what they need. SUCCESS!
Through the conversation I’ve learned there are lots of things that can make salespeople annoying (don’t roll your eyes, you know it’s true). For the record, they’re sure they do things that make salespeople roll their eyes as well – but that’s not what this is about.
This is about what salespeople can do to have positive internal relationships while getting prospects and customers what they need – when they need it. Here are the top complaints your internal support team may have about YOU…
Willful Ignorance: “being willfully ignorant is not pretty in kids and it’s ugly in adults!”
Let’s define willful ignorance as pretending you don’t know a piece of information OR how to do something. Although it may also be a purposeful decision not to remember or learn.
Here are a few examples:

  • Requests are sent without the information needed to actually answer the question.
  • Sharing lots of detail and expecting the support person to guess what needs to be done.
  • Asking a 2nd person the same question, because the salesperson didn’t like the answer they got from the first person.

Instant Gratification: “why do they send an email, call me, hang up and send an IM – all within a minute?” 

  • The quote says it all: asking via different communication methods without giving the person time to do anything about the request.
  • Also can be a different version of asking two people the same question… asking someone else because the salesperson didn’t get an answer as quickly as they wanted from the first.
  • Behaving like a kid in the back seat of a car trip asking “are we there yet?” over.. and over… and over again.

You might find it super interesting that in all of these conversations I was also asked, how they (the support people) can communicate better with salespeople to stop the bad behavior.

For today I’ve twisted this to make it how YOU can make it easier for them to communicate better with you.

#1 – if a situation already has you frustrated / angry / scared about losing a customer / freaking out (insert the emotion you’re feeling here) WARN THEM! Tell them what you’re feeling and that it’s not directed at them.

#2 – start your requests with two pieces of information:

  1. what you need THEM to do for the prospect/customer
  2. PLUS the timeframe the prospect/customer needs an answer

Notice that timeframe isn’t when YOU want the information… but when your prospect/customer does; if you’ve not asked, call back, DON’T guess!
#3 – say please & thank you.
If you’re sending an internal request in writing – include politeness and gratitude! Doubly so if you’re talking with someone live (on the phone/in-person/via video).
Effective communication is your responsibility… and NOT only with prospects and customers.

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