Editor’s letter - Are You a Jerk?

There’s nobody more skeptical of salespeople than my husband, Steve. The sales director.

He happens to be the most honest person I know. But I’m sure in his business he’s dealt with his share of those who can be a little more “on the shady side,” as he described someone to me just last week.

Despite Steve’s honesty and trustworthiness, though, he is guilty of one of the “8 Credibility Killers” writer Ron Donoho spotlights in his article this issue. And I’ve pointed it out to him when I hear him talking to clients on the phone. You might be guilty of it too and not even realize it. It’s under the heading, “Talking Like a Jerk.”

Steve will use phrases like “ping you,” “touch base” and “reach out,” when he can just say, “I’ll call you.” Really though, what does “ping you” even mean?

That’s what customers and prospects are thinking. They want you to make things simple for them. They want you to just say what it is that you actually mean. No jerk talk or, as Geoffrey James, author of Business Without the Bullsh*t calls it, “Biz-Blab.” This includes using long, fancy words. You’re familiar with the tagline “just do it.” Well in this case, just don’t. See what else you might be doing to zap your credibility and, on the flipside, how you can enhance it.

You’ll also want to check out “Lessons Learned from My First Job.” Writer Jean Erickson interviewed a number of industry reps to find out what their first jobs were and the things they learned that carry over to their careers today. We have a team mascot, a lawn boy, a short-order cook and a Chinese restaurant food prepper and dishwasher among them.

In case you’re wondering, my first job was the candy counter girl at the Warner Twin Theater in Harrison, NJ. I made $2 an hour and I’m not sure what lessons I got from it (how to deal with a cheap boss?), but I did get into movies for free and all the popcorn I could eat. Anyway, this article is a fun and interesting read, so don’t you dare miss it.

You will also note our cover girl, Rihanna. Besides having tons of hit singles, including one about an “umbrella, ella, ella,” her team knows the value of the perfect promotional product. In fact, an industry distributor created a swanky tote to promote her 777 Tour and you can learn all about it in “A Different Beat.” Coincidentally, we also have an umbrellas showcase in this issue. I’m sure Rihanna would appreciate any one of our suppliers’ stylish offerings. Do you see how I tied that all together?