Bad Salesman


“This is Mark Bennett.”

“Hello, Mark, how are you doing today?”

“I’m w—”

“This is Glenn, with Xerox. I was just calling today because I thought you might be interested…”

Glenn, you numbskull. The object of “how are you doing today” is to get me in “yes mode,” responding to you positively in accordance with established social conventions, before you reveal that you’re calling to try to sell me something.

If you don’t give me a chance to answer it, it doesn’t work.

If you do give me a chance to answer it, it doesn’t work either—I don’t play nice with people calling to sell me stuff. But if you call a thousand people and don’t cut them off after you ask how they’re doing, you’ll sell more copiers than if you call a thousand people and do.

Slow down, Glenn. Take your time. Selling copier leases is not a race. If you don’t schmooze your leads a little, you’ll never close.

Put that coffee down, Glenn.

14 responses to “Bad Salesman”

  1. I used to sell, so I take all sales calls unless they come at a ridiculously inconvenient time. when I started, I was taught that if the prospect doesn’t buy you, they won’t buy what you’re selling. Those mythical salesmen who can sell ice to the Eskimo, are generally just very good at building rapport with prospects, so the actual sale of a product is almost an afterthought.

  2. Glenn is a noob in sales terms. Piece of adivce #1 – work through executive admins – they are not gatekeepers they are your friends. If you are a salesperson calling a potential customer, the first words out of your mouth no mattter if it is the exec or the admin should be “Hi this is Glenn with XYZ company, do you have a few minutes for me to tell you what this is about?” If not, you ask for a time to call back for a quick 5 minute call – 5 minutes that’s it – if you can’t convey your value prop in 3 to 5 minutes tops you don’t know what the fuck your doing. You have to manage your sales calls to times that are convenient for your prospects. Don’t assume they’re sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting for you to call them.

    Your value prop should be what is it you offer that is of specific value to them (know your prospect and their busines first – do your research- don’t waste their time), who else you’ve delivered that value to (people relate to companies that have worked with others like them), and a single bullet point on why you are either a better, faster, or cheaper solution than X competitors. Be brief and be relevant. Then and only then do you ask if they are interested in discussing further, will they take an appointment, or is there someone in their company they want you to work with, etc.

    Geez guys like this really give the sales profession a bad name.

  3. Honestly, assuming the guy had given you the time to answer would the result have been any different?

    Give the guy credit, at least he’s in there making the hundreds of calls to finally get a lead.

    I agree with Mark’s Dad all those calls are ridiculously inconvenient. It’s part of the reason I simply loathe the telephone.

  4. This reminds me a little of Schubert: ‘If you talked to him, he would say ‘How are you? Good!’ and carry on working without another word’.
    Of course, what he was working on is now played as tinny Muzak by these salesmen.

    • Perhaps, like Schubert, Glenn knows he will die soon and feels he doesn’t have time to schmooze – or, perhaps not.

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