Friday, June 4, 2010

No One Reads That!

I’ve talked here before about the lovely rep community in my industry focusing primarily on some of the oddballs. Well, sadly there are also some awfully rude ones, though they typically stick within the pushy realm as opposed to meanness. Yesterday’s experience was an exception. (note: I want to preface this again by stating most sales reps are perfectly nice, but these types tend to stick-out in my mind since they need some help in their sales skills…)

For the past few months, I’ve periodically received calls from an in-flight magazine rep for one of my clients. Each time she calls, she basically asks the same questions and sounds highly put-out by the conversation. Each time I also let her know our media plan is placed throughout the year, provide my email address so she can send a media kit, and direct her to the print negotiating team for further print-related specifics. Fairly obnoxious, but easy-breezy nonetheless.

Yesterday, the rep lady called me and after learning we were in the media planning process became quite irate that she was not given a request-for-proposal (RFP). I reiterated her need to reach-out to the print negotiation team as they manage the RFP process, not me, after which she questioned what I do and what my purpose was. That ticked me off considering I work a lot and most certainly am not here to eat bon bons and chat it up with reps. I responded firmly, but politely (yes, I had to confirm with my podmates to ensure I wasn’t being rude…) explaining how I am a planner, involved in the process, just not the negotiation process.

She then proceeded to critique the media plan we currently have in-place. She announced she recently saw an ad in BusinessWeek magazine and asked who reads it anyway. Well, although on the sassy-side, I said “obviously you do.” Eek. Probably not my brightest moment, but she was not listening to me nor treating me with any respect. The diatribe went on a little longer and she finally agreed to speak to the print group. End of conversation. I quickly called Melissa on the print team to give her a heads-up on our conversation so she would be aware and not be taken aback should she also be berated.

Not surprisingly, Melissa received a call from Ms. Friendly a little while ago and received the same treatment I did. The rep said no one would travel for cancer treatment (and yet she’s trying to sell her in-flight magazine?) and Southwest Airlines made the least sense since their hub is in Las Vegas. Melissa corrected her, letting her know Southwest is headquartered in Dallas and has beaucoup flights throughout Texas each day. Sheesh. She then questioned what I do again. Lovely. Melissa reexplained the structure and, to hopefully quiet her for a little while, agreed to send her an RFP.

I don’t understand what this lady’s issue is and why she thinks insults and criticism would ever give us confidence in her or her product. I was baffled that she also basically questioned what my job is, implying I was a waste of her time. Thanks. All that to say, I’m thankful my purpose and position cannot be thwarted by hers or anyone’s thoughts and opinions of me. I know my purpose and who I am and am generally sad for her. In hindsight, I probably should have pointed-out her rudeness and asked if there was a reason she felt the need to belittle others. Obviously there is something missing in her heart or some deep-seeded feelings of pride or worthlessness herself, which does make me sad.

Anyway, this story was likely boring to most of you who don’t have the lovely pleasure of speaking with reps on a daily basis, particularly those who are pushy or obnoxious. In any case, welcome to a snip-it of my world.

Have a ya ha and hey hey Friday and a fabulous weekend!