Four Taboo Topics to NEVER Bring Up
You should consider having this talk with anyone else within your company that interacts with customers as well. A CSR, estimator or desktop guy could do just as much damage as you can.
SEX—I can’t believe that I have to say this, but it is NEVER appropriate to engage in any kind of discussion about sex, even if the client brings it up. This is a great way to lose business or end up in court. Just say no.
Before you go to any meeting with clients or prospects, try having a handful of neutral topics to discuss—rip ’em right from the headlines if you like. What movie did you see over the weekend? (Although if it was “Atlas Shrugged,” just keep that to yourself as well.) What great deal did you just get on Groupon? What fun things did you do with the family last weekend? Vacations, cars, sports...these are all usually safe. (But stay away from aggressive trash talk with sports.)
ANYTHING ELSE THAT MIGHT EVEN POSSIBLY BE CONSTRUED AS OFFENSIVE—The better you know your clients, the easier this gets, but when you are just getting to know someone, assume that they are the archetype of every group that you could possibly offend, and make sure to stay way up on the high road.
I expect that some of you will Comment here (AHEM) that when you become really good friends with a client, all these rules fly out the window. OK, you can continue to think that way. But please just remember that you never know who is listening, reading your e-mails, or overhearing your phone conversations. That receptionist could be the CEO’s niece.
If you have any doubts as to what is or is not appropriate, ask a co-worker. Or your boss, wife, husband or best friend. Or call me. I’ll set you straight. Roller derby-style.
Blogger, author, consultant, coach and all around evangelist for the graphic arts industry, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include sales and marketing coaching, enabling clients to find engagement strategies that work for them and mentoring the next generation of sales superstars.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league. She is also the mother of two sets of twins under the age of ten, so she fears nothing.