I used to be a marketing manager at a software company a few years back. We had a team of telephone sales people who spent the day telemarketing to our existing clients and selling to leads.

We had all the requisite coaching. Sales people were expected to have a bright cheery voice whenever they answered the phone. It was certainly a job I couldn’t do myself. I always think of those brave souls whenever my phone rings. I take a deep breath, exhale whatever I was working/thinking/obsessing about and cheerfully answer, “Hello, this is Russ how may I help you?”

Recently, my greetings have been answered with a nearly unintelligible voice on the other end of the phone trying to sell me on outsourcing my web development needs to their technical center on the opposite side of the planet. Usually the pitch starts out with, “I was looking at your website..”

O.K. here’s the thing: If you actually were looking at my website, you would have noticed I’m located in the United States, and probably speak fluent English. Like many ugly Americans, I’m so self important I think that someone trying to sell me something on my phone should speak my language or at least a reasonable facsimile of it.

While I appreciate the offers to help out in these tough times, with my overwhelming workload, I really can’t see myself doing business with a company who’s best telemarketing phone voice I can’t understand. I would assume the technical people I will need for back end development are going to be more native speaking than the “international sales person” who just called.

So I think back to those sales people we coached all those years ago and realize, I sent them out into the world without a very important piece of advice…. Speak the proper language of your target audience.