I answered my phone this morning and was instantly bombarded with a high-pressure sales presentation from a local quarterly “Christian paper” that I’ve never even heard about. Apparently they have their papers in local Christian book stores and area churches for Christians to pickup, read, and find “Christian” companies to do business with…talk about keeping people in the bubble (thanks Dan).
What got me was
1) It was a call for my business (not the church) and I wasn’t asked if my company was a Christian company
2) It was super high-pressure – here’s what we’re going to do just say yes without seeing the product
3) The guy wouldn’t let me get three words in – start asking a question and get interrupted
I finally got tired of being interrupted and told the guy he was being incredibly rude and that I would like to have a chance to talk. That’s when he decided to tell me the same thing. So I waited some more, and heard the sales pitch a third time. After he again assumed the sale (which is good in sales…typically) I again tried to ask the same question “what paper is this?” And the guy got an incredibly rude tone and began his rehearsed aggressive sales pitch again.
This time I interrupted and made him listen. I was at home, had an extra child over, and my 11 month old was crying due to a poopy diaper, so I wasn’t in the mood to beat around the bush at this point. I, pretty frankly, told the guy that I didn’t appreciate his sales tactic and that he came across as someone who sees Christians as a market and a way to make money, not as people who serve the true God.
He then told me that “no one has ever talked to me like that!” and went off on his sales pitch again.
I explained that I wasn’t interested and hung up, needing to change a diaper. After I cooled down for a little bit I called back and asked for the manager. He was the manager. This was good though; we got a second chance for both of us to explain our side without worrying about a sales pitch, because we both knew it wasn’t happening.
After it was all said and done, we were both much happier with the situation, and I don’t think either of us was nearly as offended as we were earlier. I found out that he has been running this paper for over 7 years dealing almost solely with known Christian companies and area churches. This tells me (because of his overly aggressive sales style) that no one has put him in his place because ‘Christians need to be nice no matter what.’
So I offended him, and stunned him, because no Christian, nay, no Christian in a leadership position should ever tell someone that they are wrong or coming off like a total jerk (he knew at this point that I was a pastor as well as a business man).
Apparently I’m the first to do it. A leader in the church who is real enough to try and help someone’s future by bringing them back to earth instead of worrying about the size of their congregation…kind of sounds like Paul doesn’t it.
I’m not comparing myself to Paul, but we should try to imitate his approach to following Christ, and at times Paul was pretty straight foreword with people.
So here’s my question to you; do you think I was wrong in telling him he was being a jerk, or did he need to hear it so he could reevaluate his sales pitch with his Christian publication?