Monday, January 29, 2007

Sales Versus Introduction (or, how to spot a crappy lawyer)

In my job I end up calling a lot of lawyers as of late. Lawyers, as a general rule, are a hard nosed bunch. They don't have a lot of time, they're under tremendous amounts of stress, and generally don't like to be on the phone with someone hawking IT services. Even so, I expect them, as a result of their costly and time intensive schooling, to at least be able to know the difference between a sale and a mere introduction.

This little diatribe comes about as a result of a conversation I had with a lawyer in Tulsa. He was a bear from the get-go, but they all are. He kept interrupting me to ask me what I was trying to sell him, to which I replied that I was not trying to sell him anything today (which is the truth). On a side note, how do you expect someone to get to the point when you interrupt them, good sir? But I digress ...

Eventually he shut up long enough for me to tell him who we were and what we do, at which point he exclaimed "So you ARE trying to sell me something! You were untruthful with me! Goodbye!" The phone clicks on the end.

We'll get a little pedantic now:

Main Entry: sale
Pronunciation: 'sAl
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English sala; akin to Old High German sala transfer, Old English sellan to sell -- more at SELL
1 : the act of selling; specifically : the transfer of ownership of and title to property from one person to another for a price
2 a : opportunity of selling or being sold : DEMAND b : distribution by selling
3 : public disposal to the highest bidder : AUCTION
4 : a selling of goods at bargain prices
5 plural a : operations and activities involved in promoting and selling goods or services

Main Entry: in·tro·duc·tion
Pronunciation: "in-tr&-'d&k-sh&n
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English introduccioun act of introducing, from Anglo-French introduction, from Latin introduction-, introductio, from introducere
1 : something that introduces : as a (1) : a part of a book or treatise preliminary to the main portion (2) : a preliminary treatise or course of study b : a short introductory musical passage
2 : the act or process of introducing : the state of being introduced
3 : a putting in : INSERTION
4 : something introduced; specifically : a new or exotic plant or animal

Although he did not provide me the opportunity to educate him in the more minor points of the English language in this regard (not that I would have wasted the time for it), it occurred to me how utterly poor this man must be at his job if he cannot understand the difference between 1) someone asking you for money for goods/services & 2) someone sending you an informative email detailing what the firm does.

Granted, the introduction is a segue to the sale, but is not the same thing by any means. If I made a sale for every email I sent out I'd be a much wealthier man right now. The most frightening part of the whole episode was that this man is licensed in the state of Oklahoma (presumably) to argue over the meaning and intent of words (i.e., practice law). Scary.