I received a call this AM from a sales person. I always love getting calls like this because I like seeing their tactics, how they handle themselves and if they do a good job, I will listen to their pitch. Today, not so much. The individual who called had researched my company. Good job! But he never asked a question. He started with, “I see you are a small business consultant specializing in marketing and social media.” So now instead of being impressed he did his research, I applauded his ability to read. Next, he said, “I’m calling from XYZ Company” and paused. I would actually use the name of the company but 12 seconds after he said it I had forgotten what he said. What was the pause for? Is the company impressive and I’m suppose to pay attention? Whatever. Finally, he said, “I was thinking that our telemarketing services would be a great way to bring you new clients.” Congratulations! I’m happy for you! I certainly wouldn’t agree since it would send the wrong message to get a telemarketing call from someone who is recommending other methods for client development, but you are entitled to your opinion. He FINALLY said – “Don’t you agree?” and I said, “no”. He suddenly became a human being – not a script reader. He was shocked that I so quickly said no and when he asked why and I explained he realized he was targeting the wrong clients. I have no idea if he will learn from that, but at least I had his attention for a minute.
Another sales person is one I’ve used as an example in training classes for years. I received a voice mail from a sales training specialist who focuses on getting calls back on voice mails. Sweet! Since I was training people on sales techniques, I figured I’d give him a try and see what happened. His first voice mail was engaging, he came across well, left his phone number at a reasonable speed, and seemed like he might know what he was talking about. And then I got the second voice mail. Guess what? SAME VOICE MAIL. No kidding – not a word or inflection was different. I gave him four shots before I returned his call and all were the exact same email. The voice mail I left him said I appreciated his efforts, but persistence in the same message wasn’t the technique we felt was the most effective so we wouldn’t be hiring him. He did call back and we had a nice chat about using one’s own training techniques as demonstrations.
So what’s the point? These people were good at the mechanics. Both did exactly what their formula said to do. They weren’t thinking about it – to the point that I think the first guy would have been thrown off if I had said I was interested. So stay engaged, be human, and don’t just follow the script. When you research someone, know why your product will help THEM. Make sure it is a good fit so you will both be happier. And my biggest pet peeve, ASK QUESTIONS. Be interested in getting the other person talking! Confirming what they know puts up barriers. Getting them to talk puts them on your team. Learn about your prospects through research and their answers – it is those conversations that result in new business.