Guidelines : Rumors
State the rumor and the correction up front.
Acknowledge tidbits of truth from which almost all rumors have their origin. Such acknowledgment adds credibility to your explanations, corrections, or denials.
If the rumor is damaging, emphasize the importance of “keeping the record straight.” Don’t use an accusatory, watchdog tone when you intend to mend rumor damage; such a tone tends to cast a shadow on the truth or at least fuel further speculation.
Don’t feel you must trace the origin of a rumor or place blame for its spreading.
Be tactful about wording (for example, discuss “concerns” instead of “rumors”); no one likes to be considered a gossiper or rumormonger.
End with a positive, business-as-usual closing.
Example 1: Example letter of rumors
SUBJECT: Percaarisus Permentol–Marketing Efforts
At the convention last week I heard some of you express concern over the marketability of our Percaarisus Permentol line. Let me clear up some misunderstandings: Our continued, concentrated research over the past 18 months shows this line, without a doubt, to be effective in treating the symptoms for which it was developed.
But I will acknowledge the difficulty you may have in selling such an innovative approach to treatment. To this end, let me remind you we have test kits for you to offer the customer so he can gather and examine results for himself. Please order and deliver these test kits; without them, you will have trouble in selling this product until it has gained more publicity.
Concentrated effort will mean additional time zeroing in on primary markets; once you qualify your leads, you will begin to pick up additional customers and enjoy substantial commissions. If you need help in qualifying specific leads, contact Frank Bohon.
Because a negative attitude always diminishes your selling success, I hope this will clear up any concerns you may have had about test results. I look forward to seeing sales of this new line on your next reports.
Example 2: Business rumors letter
SUBJECT: State Chemical Transport Exam
Several drivers have voiced concerns about the Missouri State Chemical Transport Exam. True, the exam is designed to be a serious test of your knowledge, but Carol Browning at the State Chemical Regulation Board assures me that it is fair and straightforward. In other words, if you have a solid grasp on the state’s regulations, you should pass the test.
I know some are concerned that those who fail the test will be immediately dismissed. This is not the case. According to the State Board, drivers who fail the test are placed on probation. They have four opportunities to pass before the state can revoke their licenses.
You will not be left to prepare for the exam alone. I want to review our plan to prepare drivers for the exam, so we won’t have any needless anxiety:
1. We will purchase a copy of the State Chemical Transport Handbook for each driver.
2. We will provide a two-week course on state regulations for all drivers. You will be paid for time spent on the course.
3. We will conduct optional practice tests in the weeks leading up to the exam.
We are doing everything we can to help drivers pass the exam with flying colors. Let’s look at it as an opportunity to brush-up on our safe handling procedures.
Example 3: Rumors letter
SUBJECT: Employment Security Concerns With New Ownership
I want to clear up some of the speculation I heard about lay-offs at our Monday meeting. Most importantly, nobody will lose their jobs because of the change in ownership. The agreement Mr. Crotty made with Mr. Nelson includes a stipulation that the staff be left intact.
To allay any fears of lay-offs, I have scheduled a meeting with Mr. Nelson, the majority owner. He has agreed to answer your questions on November 21 at 10:00 in the conference room.
Example 4: Response to rumors letter
SUBJECT: Safety Study Results for Next Year’s Lightning GT
I understand several sales people are concerned about the results of the safety study being conducted on next year’s Lightning GT model. Despite suggestions to the contrary, the Lightning has surpassed federal safety standards in every category.
The center seat air bag Jim Davis is developing does not perform as well as we hoped, but I want to emphasize that it is not an option on next year’s models. Jim was simply taking advantage of the study to test an early prototype of a design we want to use in cars three years from now.
If your dealerships have pre-sold the Lightning and are worried about safety problems, help us assure them it will be one of the safest cars on the market.
Example 5: Company rumors
SUBJECT: Renewal of Creewell Industries Contract
I want to answer the lingering questions about the renewal of Creewell Industries’ contract.
I spoke with Gerald Creewell today, and he assures me that we are on track for renewal. The presentation we put together for Gerald and his staff is part of a review Creewell is conducting with all their suppliers to ensure they are making the most economical decisions.
We should feel confident we have provided Creewell with superb service for 12 years. Their review should also act as a healthy reminder that we need to work just as hard to maintain 12 year old contracts as new contracts.
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