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When Is An Interruption Not An Interruption?

by David Brock on October 22nd, 2019

Recently, I had an interesting email exchange with someone who clearly had bad experience with sales people. The conversation started around the “intrusiveness,” and “obnoxiousness” of sales people “interrupting” this person’s day.

I had a lot of empathy for this person. Every day, I can calls from numbers I don’t recognize (the majority of them are local, even the same exchange……). I rarely pick them up. I know it’s a robocaller or a poorly prepared sales person.

It’s the same with emails. My email system is pretty robust. My spam filters the worst. I’ve set up other filters that divert most of the rest. Every once in a while something sneaks through.

Likewise with LinkedIn, I get inundated with InMails, invitations that are meaningless pitches, and worse.

I view all of those as “interruptions.” Things that rob me of my time, time that I could have invested better–perhaps playing Solitaire on my computer. Yes, most of the calls make Solitaire look like a good investment of my time.

But every once in a while…….

Something’s different. I pick up the phone, I read an email, I respond to a query. Someone is doing something different–they are helping me learn. They are helping me think differently, they are inciting me to try something new or different.

Yes, their call wasn’t scheduled or anticipated, or their email or Inmail wasn’t expected, or I hadn’t “opted in.” While technically it’s an interruption–that is I was doing something else, but I chose to have my attention diverted. It really wasn’t an interruption. It was a good use of my time. And something I probably would do again and again.

Much of what we do as sales people is an “interruption.” And possibly these interruptions lead to “disruption,” getting us to think differently, to consider new opportunities. Those “interruptions” are really not interruptions, but they are value interventions and opportunities cherished by the person who has chosen to pick up the phone or read the email.

For those who create value, who help customers learn, who help customers discover new opportunities, we must persevere. We must continue to “interrupt,” though those we are interrupting consider it time well spent.

We may be tempted to give up, we may worry about being lost in the noise, we may be tempted to succumb to the same inane approaches used by the other 98% who are interrupting.

But we can’t stop, we own it to our customers to “interrupt.” We must continue to find ways, by phone, email, LinkedIn, or whatever channel the customer might see and think, “This is worth my time, I will choose to talk to that sales professional. I can learn!”

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