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I had the idea for this post after having ended a cold call campaign for a training company. After 1,500 calls, I can say that the vast majority of companies in Montreal and Quebec City regions treat people very well ... but not all of them.

There were several companies that had no need for the service I was offering, and the ones that distinguished themselves were saying “no” in the best possible way (I disregard here the companies that said yes, as, of course, they all had a beautiful approach). For others however, once they identified that the service was not for them, the conversation was abrupt, short and sometimes downright unpleasant.

Why write about this? Because every interaction is an opportunity to make your business stand out and be positively perceived. I am not suggesting that you should buy something you do not need just to cater to your image. Nor do I recommend directing the proposal or the person to the trash (eg: "please send your communication to the general e-mail folder"), but to have a simple approach, which can be both direct and friendly. And if you're afraid that being nice will allow the salesperson to insist? Well, there are many ways to be firm while being friendly. Some options:

  1. - We already have a provider with whom we are very satisfied with;
  2. - We have not identified this need for the current year;  
  3. - We do not have a budget for this product/service at the moment.   

  4. If you are faced with a persistent salesperson, a technique that I use and works every time is to say:  ”I understand what you do and I appreciate it, but I have just said no a few times. It is important that you understand my position” - and everything stops there. 

Is it important to have a pleasant approach only with sellers? What about the candidates who did not get the job? How do you manage your image with these people? How about your relationship with your suppliers? Your investors? Your subcontractors?

The reality is that every contact with the outside and inside world helps build your company's brand. And usually the time it takes to be friendly is about the same time it takes to be impolite.

For my part, I want to improve my communication with candidates who did not get the job. Even if I say in the advertisement that only the selected candidates will be contacted, I think I can do better. I am on it.

Which part of your business do you feel could benefit from this approach?  Which part of your business could be friendlier? 

Looking forward to reading your comments.

In the meantime, happy thinking.


Stéphane Elmaleh-Riel, B.Ed, MBA
Marketing consultant

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