The Price of Arrogance

I’m no stranger to arrogance . . . and neither are you. All of us, from time to time, believe we know better, have “the” answer, are smarter or more important. It ‘s human nature for our ego to occasionally take over in this way. Hopefully we catch ourselves, or have good friends who point this out to us, before our behaviour becomes an alienating liability.

In business, when arrogance goes unchecked, it becomes part of the culture. I “hear” it all the time. Whether I’m prospecting or doing assessments of clients’ customer service or sales teams, I encounter the attitude of “we’re better, smarter and superior”. It’s evident in a tone of voice, a rush of words, a dismissive sigh. It says, so clearly, “Yes, you are the customer but compared to me, you aren’t very smart and it pains me to have to speak to you.”

It happens everyday and it has a direct impact on the bottom line, losing companies customers and revenue.

Recently I was told a story about a young bank manager who, when speaking to a $1.5 million client on the phone, displayed his arrogance. After the call, it took very little time for that client to move their business to another bank. And, so far, no one’s followed up with the client. Perhaps they haven’t noticed the loss of business? A prime example of arrogance as part of the culture.

Merriam-Webster defines arrogance as “an insulting way of thinking or behaving that comes from believing you are better, smarter, or more important than other people”. I have a more practical definition:

Arrogance in business is when you are so sure of yourself you no longer listen, or when you are so sure of what you think you don’t bother to ask questions.

I encourage you to pay attention this week to how you and your team are listening to your customers, prospects, even sales people contacting you with new ideas. Are you allowing arrogance to prevent you from hearing them? If so, adjust your financial forecasts, because you are losing money.

Next week, Leslie Gallagher of will be back to share with us her journey of going from phone phobic to phone fabulous.

Enjoy your PhoneWork everyone!

P.S. With thanks to Scott Fasken for sending this to me,  I encourage you to watch a delightful quick and funny video on today’s phone communication.


Closing a sale is the natural outcome of inspiring great conversations and listening intently to our potential customers.

This natural approach still involves a process – a plan that moves potential customers through a journey of discovery with you. So ... what's your process? And am I the right sales coach for you? Let's find out.

2 thoughts on “The Price of Arrogance”

Leave a comment

When you subscribe to my weekly blog, you'll immediately get my detailed ebook The Why and How of Following-up featuring my best advice plus examples of success you can duplicate.


What's The Phone Lady doing?


  • Remote learning experiences + one-on-one coaching for women entrepreneurs (More info about this three-year program here.)
  • Team and individual coaching with a national moving company to refine their sales process
  • Remote half-day training for provincial tourism representatives
  • Remote seven-part sales training program for US-based SaaS
  • Remote webinar on accounts receivable communication for industrial-services company
  • Remote webinar on validation to college students in entrepreneur program
  • In-person workshop on job search skills for women in the trades
  • Remote half-day webinar on written correspondence to customers

Do you or your team want to improve your communication skills? Do you have a communication question or challenge you'd like to discuss? This quick-to-fill-out form is easy to use and you'll hear from Mary Jane very soon.