I wrote a piece about some of the most over used and misused words on the internet. (Click here to read.)
Today I want to write about one of the most over used terms in the business world and how we have minimized the meaning of this term with its misuse.
Sometimes I think if I hear one more person say “reach out” to someone I am going to puke.
You know, like when the customer is being a real asshole, they are making all kinds of unrealistic and unprofitable demands; when they are being uncooperative and generally a giant dick. And then the boss who only sees these people at their cocktail parties says to you “why don’t you ‘reach out’ and see what are some of the issues.”
Why don’t I just take a two by four and beat some sense into them?
Or when a salesman from your supplier gives you a call. You don’t hear from them but once a year, usually when they have to put together their forecast for the next year. They say “I just wanted to ‘reach out’ to you.”
Why don’t they just say what they really mean? “Hey, you’re a marginal customer at best and I need to get my report filled out so I can get my dick boss off my back. That asshole actually said to me why don’t I ‘reach out’ to you. Anyway I made the call. So are you still going to be one of those little pain in the ass customers again this year?”
Reach out is what you do when you truly care about someone, like a loved one, a cherished friend or a family member. It’s what AT&T used to pull at your heart strings to get you to spend ridiculous amounts of money on your phone bill.
It implies you care.
You don’t ‘reach out’ to some customer you really don’t care about.
Oh yea, you care about the sales, the dollars, about meeting your goals. You know what you are actually doing, you are making a sales call. You are not reaching out.
‘Reach out’ implies selflessness, ‘reach out’ implies you want to actually touch.
Sales calls are for making bucks and I’ll bet ninety nine percent of the time you sure don’t want to touch the other party.
You ‘reach out’ to Grandma.
You make sales calls to Arnie, the self absorbed goof ball buyer who is looking to bleed you for every piece of profit you could possibly make on the deal.
Yea Arnie might act like he’s your bud but when the shit hits the fan he’ll leave you hanging out to dry.
So the next time you want me to make a business call just say “why don’t you give them a call and see what’s up.” I will be happy to do it.
But please don’t say ‘reach out’!
That implies we all care about each other in the business world and we don’t.
Last I looked no one is sitting around holding hands and singing Kumbaya.
© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.