Don’t Be That Guy – Doesn’t Know How To Say “No” Guy

“Books are like a mirror. If an ass looks in, you can’t expect an angel to look out.” – BC Forbes

Everyone always makes the assumption that a sales guy’s life is awesome.  Get to travel, buy tickets to sporting events to hang with customers, expense nights out drinking with said customers and prospective customers…well, there’s a trade off.  People want to know that those expense reports you’re filing are worthwhile to the company.  Every time I’ve heard a job seeker at one of our events tell a story of The Disappearing Recruiter, I’ve wanted to share one of my own…so now I am.

As a sales guy, my biggest complaint in life is a prospective customer that never tells me “no”. I go through the dance – I answer your RFI, I quote your RFP, I bring in engineers and architects to design you the best solution possible based on your budget, I re-quote based on competition, I take you to dinner after dinner, and do everything you asked of me…

Then what happens?


No returned calls, no returned emails…just simply gone.  But then as this is a tiny industry, I hear from another OEM rep that, “Oh yea, that deal went to Cisco, you didn’t know?”

No, I didn’t know.

It’s okay. Really.

And therein lies the problem, JUST TELL ME NO.  It’s OK.  Seriously, it is. I won’t yell, I might ask, “Why?”, I might ask some questions so I can learn from my mistakes, but I will be alright, I promise.

You see, when I put this much time and effort into a project, I have to track it.  Management sees that I am spending so much time with you and they question me every Thursday on our team call.  Then my boss’ boss questions him.  Then the engineer’s manager questions the engineer and my boss.  Then the Regional VP questions my boss and the engineer’s boss. And then it all rolls downhill…to me.  And my answer of, “He went dark on me…” just doesn’t cut it.

It makes me look incompetent.

It makes me look like I am bad at my job.

But if you simply told me six-weeks ago, “Thank you for your effort, but it went to Cisco, here is why” – everyone’s life would be much simpler, including your own.  No more Monday and Friday voicemails from me to *D, no more emails to delete, no more cell phones going off with you hitting IGNORE…none of that.

The irony of this is, I am sure “that guy” hates the same thing.  When he was dating Mary Sue Rottenpants in college and a couple dates went well, he then spends $300 on dinners and concerts and one day *BLAMO*, she goes silent.  No calls, no texts, no emails…she just simply vanished.  And then he finds out 2 months later she is dating the QB of the football team, he then is angered and feels the need to confront her.  Instead of her simply breaking up and being done, she left him wondering and then infuriating him in the end.

So is that why you are getting back at me, the vendor, now?  Is this payback?  Or are you simply afraid to face a disappointed sales rep?  Because that I’ll take way more personally than a ‘no’.  I like to think I come across as an open, honest kind of guy during all of our conversations…one that you should know can handle it like a big boy.  Besides, just because you don’t need me now doesn’t mean you won’t need me tomorrow or down the road.

In the end, I am begging you, just tell me no and please, don’t be that guy.

Until next time…

Make sure you check out our other Don’t Be That Guy entries