Defensiveness can be defined several ways.
One that I like is "Reacting to nearly everything that is said or done as if it is a personal attack on you."
So, someone passes you in the hall at work and says: "Hello," and you think: "I wonder what he MEANT by that!"
We can also become defensive with our clients, especially if they ARE attacking us or criticizing our products, or they're thinking of bolting toward our competitors.
The same negative feelings crop up when we believe that they've already stopped doing business with us for good.
This isn't a helpful concern to have if you've decided to contact your inactive accounts by phone. If you're defensive, you're likely to blurt out something like: "Why aren't we doing business, anymore?"
This, of course, would put them on the spot, creating a defensive cycle, and they'd be inclined to attack back.
There is a better way to not only find out WHETHER they left, but also to being them back into the fold.
Start your conversation with the Thank-You Approach:
"Hello, Bill, this is Gary Goodman with Customersatisfcation.com and I'm just calling to say hi and to thank you for all of the business we've done together."
Then be silent!
If they feel positively about you they'll say they were thinking of you, or your name came up in conversation, or even that they have a new order for you.
If they're reticent, you can explicitly ask them how they've been and how they've been taking care of their need for widgets, lately.
In any case, your Thank-You Approach will be supportive, which is the opposite of defensive, and this could thaw any frost that inadvertently caused a lull in your activity.
Dr. Gary S. Goodman is the best-selling author of 12 books, over 700 articles, and the creator of numerous audio and video training programs, including "The Law of Large Numbers: How To Make Success Inevitable," published by Nightingale-Conant-a favorite among salespeople and entrepreneurs. For information about booking Gary to speak at your next sales, customer service or management meeting, conference or convention, please address your inquiry to: firstname.lastname@example.org