Clients that demand use of honorifics

Apr 4, 2019

  1. bill3173
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    bill3173 Guru

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    This may sound a little petty, but...anyway, I occasionally have clients that will only refer to themselves as Mr. or Mrs, Ms. when speaking to me. I'm not talking about a prospect, I mean a client that may have one or more policies, and has had them for years.

    Now, considering that this is rare, I still find it mildly irritating when they continue to address me by my first name, regardless of the fact that I am not enjoying that privilege with them. It's one thing if they want to be formal, okay, I don't get it, but that's okay, I don't get a lot of things. However, if you are going to have this alpine sense of self, shouldn't it extend to those you do business with?

    One example of this, that I really found hard to take, was a guy that was several years younger than me, who was doing okay work wise, but nothing special...he calls me Bill from the beginning of our tenure together, but insists that I call him Mr. Jones. I returned his calls, and tried to be accommodating, but it was a real effort.
     
  2. DHK
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    DHK "YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!"

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    I think it's part of being in sales/consulting with the more casual relationship idea of "When I hear Mr. "X", I look for my father." I think most salespeople and advisors are just addressed by their first name just for being in the profession and every other profession pretty much follows suit. He probably addresses ALL people who are in sales in the same way.

    Yes, it is somewhat conceited to not expect the same treatment in reverse.

     
    DHK, Apr 4, 2019
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  3. bill3173
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    bill3173 Guru

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    Well, that sort of hits it on the head. In the guy's case, he was a route salesman, with a very modest income, but had this quixotic sense of self importance.

    What's so puzzling about the whole Mr. Ms. thing is most of the time I have the opposite problem, particularly with the better class of people. They insist I call them by their first names, but have trouble addressing me the same way, which I do understand that better.

    Before I sold insurance, I worked as a staff engineer for Exide Battery Company, and it was hard for me to call my insurance agent by his first name, even though we were about the same age. Guess I looked at him as the authority in that area.
     
  4. leevena
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    leevena Guru

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    Could these clients be reacting to something you did, said, or conveyed? Addressing someone by Mister is not that unusual, yet you stated that you tried to be accommodating but it was a real effort. You find it mildly irritating that they address you by your first name. In this post you choose to use “alpine sense of self” and “ quixotic sense of self importance”, hardly a form of every day speech. Then you finish by stating you do not have this problem with a better class of people. You may need to do some self-evaluation.
     
    leevena, Apr 4, 2019
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  5. Todd King
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    Todd King IMO/FMO Owner

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    It's just me, but I would have to ask them why they want it one way but won't return the courtesy you. Then, depending on their answer, I would reach an understanding or I would fire them.

    People with attitudes that they are better than me just turn me off to no end. If they want to be like that then they are not worth my time.
     
  6. goillini52
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    goillini52 MAGA...Eat More Bacon & BUILD THAT WALL!!!

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    That's what's nice about this business, we can choose who we do business with.

    I usually call them Mr. or Mrs. until they tell me to call them by their 1st name. :yes:

    I did have a couple of old maids that got snippity with me for calling them Mrs. instead of Miss. No wonder they were old maids. :laugh:
     
  7. WinoBlues
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    WinoBlues Guru

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  8. bill3173
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    bill3173 Guru

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    You understand everything don corleone. It's funny that this one sided formality has only happened twice in the last fifteen years, but it is still aggravating. The first guy was rude, condescending, and right about the time I decided that I was going to stop taking his calls, he died.

    The newest one is this week, and she's put me in a position where I'm either going to have to take your advice and confront her, or just suck it up. She is getting a life insurance policy and a decent sized annuity, which you know can require a lot of discussion.

    She refers to herself as Ms. in text, email and voice mail, and is setting a record for the number of times you can use my name in a sentence. And, you're right, it's a way of showing superiority.
     
  9. rousemark
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    rousemark Still Here!

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    Having grown up in a day when Mr, Mrs. and Miss were the proper way to address people, I usually use those titles until someone tells me to use their first name.. If they insist on the title that is fine with me. They are paying the bills. In fact, I get irritated when people I don't know that want to sell me something, especially if they are younger, address me by my first name as if they are my best friend.. I also use sir and ma'am when talking with folks, no matter their age..
     
  10. VolAgent
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    VolAgent Guru

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    Yes, I find it highly irritating when it happens. Although I've had a lot of people insist I call them by their first name when I was saying Mr. or Ms.

    At the end of the day, it probably has nothing to do with you and almost everything to do with them. The fact these people are referencing themselves in the third person, and as Mr. or Ms. is quite amusing.
     
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