I don’t know why I picked up the phone, I knew better. It was one of those calls, you know what I’m talking about, the area code and the first three digits of the phone number exactly matched mine, but it was a number I didn’t know.
I knew it was a sales person, leveraging local presence, trying to make me think he was in my neighborhood. Ironically, I was a continent away, it was the middle of the night.
But for some reason, I was now awake, I knew what I was about to encounter, I answered the phone.
“I’m not trying to sell you anything……” No introduction, just “I’m not trying to sell you anything…” I was wide awake, I thought, this could be fun, I replied, “How can I help you…..”
He went through his pitch, he wanted to set up a meeting where someone could demo the latest greatest technology that would help my business skyrocket. I’ll overlook the fact the never asked me my business, never asked my name, never even told me his name. I’ll even overlook the fact he never asked me a question, other than, ‘When can we schedule the demo?”
Perhaps unfairly, I asked, “Why should I see the demo?” He quickly replied, “We know you will see how it will help your business (he still didn’t know), you can then sign up, we have a 30 day trial, then it will cost $30/month for each of your people…..”
I’m sure he was getting quite excited, his job was just to get me committed to the demo, but now he was talking about me buying this “cool software package.”
“So you are trying to sell me something……”
The call quickly went downhill, the poor sales person didn’t know how to answer my questions. We ended the call, I thanked him for his time and said good bye. I hung up, both sighed and chuckled, then went back to sleep as dreams of bad prospecting calls danced through my head. (Yeah, I’m a jerk, I don’t mean to be, but when I get these terrible calls, I can’t resist asking the obvious…. Isn’t that what normal people do? I know it’s not this sales person’s fault, he’s just doing what someone in marketing or his management told him to do.)
Every time we pick up a phone and make a prospecting call, we ARE trying to sell someone something! Or at least, we are trying to identify someone that may have a need to buy.
The person we are calling knows we are sales people. They didn’t answer the phone, thinking some stranger was calling for idle chit-chat. They may have thought it might be something else, but they are on the phone, they know you are a sales person, so don’t apologize for doing your job. But do your job professionally!
When we are making outbound calls, we are trying to find people who may have a need to buy, and to whom, we might, at some point, sell something.
We should only be calling people in organizations, in roles that are within our “sweet spot,” or Ideal Customer Profile. The probability of finding someone who interested is far higher than just calling a random phone number.
We should only be calling people in organizations we feel may have a need to buy–perhaps our research has indicated they have a problem, perhaps we have knowledge they are interested in learning and possibly doing something.
Perhaps, we want to try to incite them to consider something different, perhaps sharing examples of what others are doing and how they might get value from considering the same.
We know people don’t want to talk to sales people, but our job is to sell–it’s to find people/or to incite a need to buy.
We shouldn’t apologize for doing our jobs. But we should seek to create value and some insight in each call.
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