Sunday, December 1, 2013

Waste Not, Want Not

An interesting question came up in conversation the other day. If you could give one piece of advice to a vendor what would it be? Think of your favorite (or least favorite) sales rep, account manager or supplier. What would you suggest they do differently to make them be more successful and to provide more value to their customers? What exactly would you say to them?

Now I am sure a fair number of you are thinking "don't call me I'll call you" or perhaps your advice would be to suggest they take up another line of work altogether. But let's be both practical and realistic here. How can you help them be better salespeople; be less bothersome and more useful to you and everyone else?

Reflecting on what disturbs me most about a sales call, my advice would be simple. Don't waste my time or yours.

Perhaps the single most annoying call is what I label the "fishing expedition." This is where you get a call that consists of a series of questions designed to teach the caller about you and your company. They are thoroughly convinced you need their solution and they just need you to help them understand why.

They jabber on about the features and how well it will work in your environment. Then they say how it will add efficiency and quality to your operation. You know, they go on, it is extremely cost effective and will generate a huge ROI.  Of course, they have no clue what our company does or if we have any such need.  Occasionally, they can't even articulate what they are selling.

My simple advice is this. Before you call and launch into a hard core pitch, know a little something about the company you are trying to sell. Don't push your delivery route optimizer to an audit consulting firm. No matter how cheap or good it may be, they are never going to need it.

Countless times over the years I have listened patiently, for at least a few minutes, as some hot shot tries to persuade me I need his service or product. More than once I have asked, "Do you even know what we do?" and almost every time this has evoked a rather feeble reply.

So, my advice is this. Please know your product and how it fits in my world before you ever dial my number. If you can't figure it out, then please call someone else.

Captain Joe

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