It is funny when you are getting pitched by a sales person and you start critiquing their sales techniques. You know you are good at sales when you start noticing rookie mistakes.
I got a sales call today with an "Out Of Area" number listed on my caller ID. Usually I will let these calls go to voicemail because I know they are sales calls soliciting something (usually something not relevant to me or my business). For whatever reason, today I took the call. The sales guy was of foreign decent, sounded Indian to me. Now this doesn't matter, but I really had to listen hard to understand. I tend to struggle with thick accents so it takes a lot of work for me to get everything. My point is I was listening harder than usual.
This person jumped right into pitch mode talking about them and everything they do and how they have customers all over the world and they are opening offices all over, blah, blah, blah. Who cares! I could care less about this person, their business, clients or offices. If you read this blog much, you have probably heard me say "What's In It For Me?".
Honestly, I kind of wished I ask this guy this. If it wasn't so hard for me to understand maybe I would have. Maybe by playing with these bad sales people I can open their eyes or at least learn something else about sales for myself. You know maybe like testing his need for approval, trying to get him emotionally involved and excited to see where the conversation went. This may be my new testing ground for all the normal sales issues people have. Maybe I go through a list and try to throw these people off their game and get them to hang up on me instead of me hanging up on them.
Oh, so in the middle of writing this blog article another "Out Of Area" call comes in. Since I was hoping it was the sames company I took the call again. This time I played with the guy a bit. Apparently buying a sharpie type marker/pen with a screw driver end is a good thing to use to promote your business. As I started asking questions this guy started fumbling. He said things like - "I know this is third grade stuff, but it works, why now do something that works", "It's habitual, people love trinkets", "I have a laser light I had since the days when I owned a photography business (which he clarified he owned for 6 years and oh by the way, I sold it)". So honestly this was a young guy maybe mid-to-late-twenties. I didn't get the impression this guy knew much about business and I'd bet a laserpen that he ran his company into the ground.
The point here is this, these guys both went into pitch mode which was a turn off. They didn't ask me any questions at all. They didn't care what I wanted, they just wanted to close a deal. This proves on one level that sales is a numbers game. If they call all day someone will be lazy enough to buy from them. Heck, I did a presentation on how to get the best ROI from trade shows this morning. You would think a promo guy would be a perfect fit for that kind of presentation right? Well promo items barely were talked about. Most people just buy crap because they don't want to do what these guys are doing. There is NO WAY I'M GOING TO MAKE COLD CALLS!
Well, I'm hear to tell you replacing cold calls with trinkets isn't the solution. The solution is getting good at sales. If you make sales calls, it doesn't have to go like the last two calls I've had. A proper sales call isn't going to piss people off, even if it is a cold call. They key is setting the stage, asking for permission or if they have a few minute, positioning yourself, and asking questions about them and what success looks like to them. If you do this, you can qualify or disqualify prospects. These guys had no interest in disqualifying me, they would do anything to qualify me because anyone can and should buy their product right? NO!
So it is important to have fun with sales, no matter which end you are on (selling or being sold). I had fun with the second guy, but wasn't present with the first guy because all I could think about was writing this article. That is another important sales lesson… stay present in the moment. If you are selling and thinking ahead then you miss what your prospect is saying. These guys had scripts and although I tripped the second guy up, he went back to his script and telling, telling, telling me about himself. I did learn though that this sharpie with a screwdriver would earn me 40% to 100%. Not sure what that percentage was of - return on investment, annual sales growth or something else, but I'd surely get at least 40% of something.
Do you ever catch yourself critiquing other sales people? Do you catch their mistakes? Do you start playing with them to see if you can trip them up? If not you might want to brush up on your sales skills. If you do mess with sales people, what's your best technique to trip them up?