Most sales people are pretty competitive and somewhat judgmental of others in the sales profession. We all think you can do it better than the other sales guy and more often than not, you’re right. Especially when you are on the other end of the sales process. (i.e the one being sold to.)
Have you ever been in one of the situations where you wonder, “What we’re they thinking”?
About a month ago, I was on a certain company’s website and I was interested in a white paper that was available. Now understand that this wasn’t some small company, it was in fact a very large publically traded corporation. In order to download the whitepaper, I had to submit all my contact information. (company name, role, phone #, etc.) No big deal, after all I have downloaded plenty of whitepapers in the past.
Well, today I received a cold call from a sales rep from this particular organization. I happened to be on the phone at the time so it went to my voice mail. When I listen to the message, I started chuckling as I realized that this rep doesn’t have a clue. I thought this might be a teaching opportunity so I wanted to share the 40 second voice mail. Please be advised that I changed the names to protect the incompetent.
“Ya, Hi Bruce, my name is, Sammy Sales Schmuck, with XYZ company, and it’s ah, Tuesday the 30th a few minutes before, ah, I believe about, 11:00 ah, your time, ah, well wait, I’m sorry, maybe about, 12:00 your time.”
“Wanted to touch base with you, um, not sure if anyone, ah, has spoken with you yet, da, here at XYZ company, but I wanted to, um, well one, call and introduce myself and ah, two, um, I guess, get a feel for what you are doing over there and um, and to see what you are doing with (the topic of the white paper), and what not.”
“So if you could, please give me a call back at your earliest convenience, you can call me direct at 555-222-1234, again 555-222-1234. Thanks Bruce and I look forward to your call”
Question if you were the prospect, would you return this call? I’m guessing 99.9% of the time the answer would be no.
Well given it was “a few minutes before, ah, I believe about, 11:00 ah, well wait, I’m sorry, maybe about, 12:00 your time”, (aka lunch time) and well, me being me, I decided to have a little fun and call Sammy back. Obviously, based on Sammy’s response to me, he was totally caught off guard. Which is pretty surprising given that he had just called me 5 minutes earlier. When I ask the purpose of his call, he stumbled to find the reason and rational why he called me. He stated that he was new to his assignment and he wanted to learn a little more about my business, what we were all about, and Blah, Blah, Blah.
Now I have been in sales for a long time and I can honestly say that Sammy has a very difficult road ahead.
In all likelihood, if you are pounding the phone, you are going to end up leaving a voice message. You need to have a simple, direct, and concise message. It needs to be meaningful and it has to make the prospect want to talk with you. “Touching base” and “seeing what you are doing and whatnot” doesn’t excite a prospect and it certainly won’t get them to return your call.
It takes less than five minutes to gather a little information about the company and the person you are planning on talking with. Use LinkedIn, Google, or even Bing if you prefer but spend a couple of minute in preparation so you don’t sound like a schmuck.
When making cold calls or even when you are following up with someone who downloaded information from your website, Don’t be a schmuck,don’t just Wing It, have a plan.
I’m just saying . . .