I Had Her at Yes Ma’am!

Can I ask a simple question to you the reader of this blog?  Where have the manners gone?  I grew up in the deep south and manners were a way of life.  A man would hold the door open for a woman; he would pull out her chair for her to sit; and he would of course say yes ma’am and yes sir.  I feel like basic manners and courtesy have taken a back seat in society, but more specifically in the business world.  It might be an old fashioned sentiment, but take a look at how far manners can take you in business. First, be polite in your communications.   It doesn’t matter if you are speaking on the phone or writing an email, common courtesy sets you apart.  A well thought out communication shows effort and genuine interest in whom you are writing to.  Try to write in more complete sentences versus bullets or an abbreviated language.  Say yes, no, thank you, and please.  I once had a client almost turn down a great candidate because he did not send out a thank you email after an interview.  It shows how much manners are expected. Politeness is also responding to the other person, be it a phone call or email, versus ignoring. If you initiate contact and someone reaches out to you in response, return the communication back, even if your circumstances have changed. Following instructions is vital in the business world. For example, when you apply to a job, follow the instructions listed in the job posting.  A Sales Guy regularly runs ads for recruiters and plainly states that resumes are not wanted.  More than 70% of the people that apply to jobs with us include a resume.  I also have a client that at the end of every interview makes the statement to take 24 hours to think about the company and position, and then respond with intent or resignation to the interview process.  He does not mean two hours after you leave the interview to email him back your decision.  If you do, your interview process is over.  In addition, pay attention.  If you are applying to a job, please note the location. If you have no intention of moving from New York City to Los Angeles, then please don’t apply.  You will lose credibility of being a valued candidate for a position that might actually be in NYC. Finally, chivalry is not dead.  This does not just apply to men, but to everyone.  Can we start holding doors open for others and smile when you make eye contact with someone?  You never know how that smile might affect the other person.  It might just be what they needed that day to cheer them up.  Here is a quick story for you about traditional manners.  My wife and I were out at a casual restaurant and as we went to sit down, I pulled her chair out for her.  As I did this, our waitress stood there, mouth agape, and said she had never seen anyone do that before. Take a look at how you act, write, and speak. It could be affecting your success or failure in both business and in your personal life. By the way, the title of this blog is a true statement.  When I first met my wife, I always answered her yes ma’am. She later told me that was when I won her heart.  Manners work in business, in life, and in my case in love.


Keenan is A Sales Guy Inc’s CEO/President and Chief Antagonist. He’s been selling something to someone for his entire life. He’s been teaching and coaching almost as long. With over 20 years of sales experience, which he’ll tell you he doesn’t give a shit about, Keenan has been influencing, learning from and shaping the world of sales for a long time. Finder of the elephant in the room, Keenan calls it as he sees it and lets nothing or no one go unnoticed.