Can We Talk?

Well, if you're Joan Rivers maybe, if you're her reincarnation, definitely. If you're a B&B industry sales rep, please forget it.

Every so often, I think I need something like a new booking engine, a new advertising medium, or a new directory listing. Something online that I'll need to pay for. And then I get ready to fight.

I try not to. I will send out a few e-mails to sales reps, asking questions, and I explicitly state, please respond by e-mail. That's generally ignored, and typically I'll get a phone call within the hour from a sales rep asking me if they can walk me through their incredible product.

I'll say, "I asked you to respond by email." And, depending on my mood, I'll either continue either with "Can you do that?" or "Forget it."

If they do continue with an email, it will invariably say at one point, "when can we schedule a phone call?" And I'll say, "When I'm ready."

But I can still feel the itch. As if they think there's some supernatural quality in their voice (particularly when it's a woman thinking I can't resist her magic) that will ensure a sale.

I've patiently explained to the sales reps that I don't have a lot of time for phone conversations; that verbal sales pictures are hard to remember and easily confused with other ones; and that something in email allows me to go back and reference and compare details. All pointless.

The phone calls still come in saying things like, "this is the only way I can really explain all the wonderful things about our product."

Guests, I love to talk to you and so does our Hill House staff. But, sales reps, unless you can convince me that you're really Joan Rivers, "No, We Can't Talk!"

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