If you sell for a living this has probably happened to you.
Today I had a shocking sales call.
What made it worse, the person was selling sales training!
Imagine selling sales training to a sales training company – I’m not going to be their typical buyer!
Here’s how the conversation went:
Sales Rep: Hello. I understand you are in charge of training.
Sales Rep: Lucky you. (chuckle)
Alice: Yes, I agree. Lucky me.
Sales Rep: I’m with XYZ company (I will protect the company). Do you know about us?
Alice: Yes, I’m familiar with you.
Sales Rep: Oh, good. Can I tell you a little more detail about us?
Alice: (I’ve decided to be humored.) Yes.
Sales Rep: For a full 3 minutes – without taking a breath – this rep went on and on about all of he types of training they offered followed by: May I ask you a few questions about your training needs?
Alice: First, what do you know about me and my company?
Sales Rep: I know you are in my database and came up for me to call you today.
Alice: Okay, what do you know about me and my company?
Sales Rep: I know your name, let me see if I can pull up the contact information with the name of your company.
No I can’t get that screen back. Why don’t you tell me your company name and more about you?
Alice: Why don’t you do a little research first and then call me back.
Sales Rep: Can’t you tell me anything?
Alice: Since I also am in the sales training business, what I can tell you is you are breaking Rule #1 in selling – you don’t know anything about me or my company. No preparation. Yet you’ve picked up the phone and called me expecting to make a sale or at least advance a sale. Do your homework and call me back.
Sales Rep: What good would that do me if you too are in the sales training business?
Alice: Really? You’re asking that?
Sales Rep: Since you won’t tell me, I don’t see what good it would do me.
Alice: Okay, good luck and good-bye!
OMG, this sales person is probably saying how rude I was, and possibly that anyone else they called and received a no was due to a bad list they were working from.
Lesson to sales managers – emphasize to your sellers not to connect with anyone until they have thoroughly prepared with this handy checklist:
1. Identify the person and company contacting. Visit their website, Linkedin and Twitter accounts to verify this is a potential customer. If they aren’t – don’t call them.
2. Determine the objective of the conversation. What do you want to accomplish?
3. It’s All About Them. From start to finish the focus is on what’s in it for them. You don’t earn the right to open your briefcase to show them anything – until what you have is even of interest or better yet, important to them.
4. Launch the conversation with a sound bite to capture their attention and wanting them to hear more. This is another overlooked step of the sales call by most sellers. This is where they ‘wing it’ and it falls flat from the very get go.
5. List what you already know and the information needed to gain. Now you have the gaps towards the objective.
6. Create questions to confirm what you already know and discover the need to know information. Quality, prepared questions guarantee effective and efficient collaborative sales conversations.
7. Anticipate any barriers that would keep them from moving to the next step and prepare responses or additional questions. This is often overlooked by sales people and is the main reason sellers struggle with objections.
Answer for yourself: What would success look like for this conversation? With this top of mind (along with the objective of the call) the conversation will be relevant and remain on track.
Follow good preparation practices and your sellers will never have a conversation like the one I had today.
Sales managers, it’s your job to know how your sellers are actually selling. Then you can help.
What they say they said is very different from what actually takes place.
Take the time to hear first hand and then you are on your way to build a sales team that rocks!
Let’s have some fun with this, what is the worst sales call you ever received?
Top performing and top producing sales managers whose sellers meet sales quotas consistently conduct Field Ride Alongs, One-on-One Coaching and Sales Meetings to build skill and will. The free 3 Surefire Ways to Increase Sales 3x in 3 Weeks Guide shows you the quick fixes. Own the latest done-for-you sales training with these special offers only available here.
Basic sales WIIFM, the Sales Why,…
Everyone wants to Close but as Ron Willingham wrote, the close is in the opening needs analysis!
Alice – another example of how sales leaders are not paying close enough attention (as you pointed out) to the actual approach and message that their salespeople are delivering. This individual got your name out of a database and couldn’t get back to the screen to see your company name? Then they expect you to waste your time educating them on the basics they should already know? Shameful.
Over time, I’ve encountered my fair share of poor sellers. One call I remember goes like this…
Me: Hello, this is Barb Giamanco.
Seller: Can I speak to Barbara Giamanco?
Me: Yes, this is Barb Giamanco. (Not listening already).
Seller: I see you joined our recent webinar on big data. I’d like to walk you through our product and show you how it can grow your business.
Me: I listen to many webinars to keep my skills sharp. That’s part of the advisory service I offer my clients.
Me: I’m not the ideal customer profile for you. I know you sell an enterprise solution – for mid-sized and really big companies. That’s not me. I have less than 10 employees in my business.
Seller: Oh, can I just take 15 minutes of your time to do a demo. I’m sure you’d agree that it could help you grow your business.
Me: A little annoyed… I just told you that I’m not the ideal customer type. How is it possible that I know your ideal customer type better than you do?
Seller: Well, I’m sure if I could just demo the product, you’d see what a value it could be to you.
Me: No, thanks. Your platform does not fit my business type nor do I have the type of budget required to purchase your product (many thousands per month). I asked him to take me off their list and hung up.
I can only conclude that this seller was being measured on numbers of calls made, emails sent and demo’s delivered. It didn’t matter that I would NEVER make a purchase. It didn’t matter that my business didn’t fit the customer profile. Nope, this guy just kept trying to pile through his script. Ridiculous.
BTW – for any salesperson reading my story… just because someone attended a webinar or downloaded a white paper, that doesn’t mean they are a qualified lead. And, the real irony here is that at registration time, we were asked a series of questions, which included what’s the size of your business. This “data” company knew full well I wasn’t their target buyer. Evidently,marketing threw the list of everyone who registered over the wall and sales was told to call everyone. Why collect the data if you aren’t going to use it to make better decisions about where to allocate sales resources? Makes no sense.
Alice – great list, an unbelievably bad example of a sales rep AND a compelling reason why sales managers should be in your program. My worst calls are always those that sound like a real person but they are really a computer. Got fooled the first couple times but now I hang up. Takes the lack of knowledge about me to a much deeper level of ignorance.