Salespeople are also customers

You’re a busy business owner.  Or marketing director.  Or media buyer.  Typically, you’ve got multiple balls in the air, and many hats on your head.  So when you get that call/email/stop-in from a salesperson, it’s often while you’re in the middle of the hundred-and-one things you’re trying to get done so you can go home at a reasonable hour.  The last thing you want is to have to stop to answer questions that you know are designed to, either now or later, get you to buy something you’re not sure you want or need.  And even if you do need “it,” now’s not the time.

So while your better nature normally would have you say “no thanks” or “no thanks, not right now, but let’s schedule a time that works for both of us,” you sometimes gruffly boot that salesperson out the door (literally or figuratively).

Alternately, rather than nicely, but directly say that you don’t want or need the service, you stall.  This sounds like “call me next month,” “I have to talk to my partner,” “send me your brochure/link/etc.”  Sound familiar?  This requires the salesperson to unnecessarily spin wheels and jump through hoops that you know will not change the fact that you’re not gong to buy.

Did you ever consider that the same person you just treated less than civilly, or who’s time you wasted, could also be a customer?  And how does that potential customer now feel about you and your business?

I remember years ago when I was in radio sales, I called on a particular big-ticket item business.  I had sent them info about my station, left messages, and while I hadn’t heard back from them, I was in their neighborhood and decided to stop in to try to introduce myself in person and make an appointment.  I asked for the manager or his assistant, was kept waiting for some time, and when he finally addressed me, it was less than pleasant.  It also happened that I was in the market for a the product that his business sold.  Do you think I bought it from him?

We’re all in sales in some way, whether it’s in our job title or not.  So it behooves each of us to remember that today’s “interruption” could lead to tomorrow’s sale.  Golden Rule, anyone?

Next time: a salesperson’s responsibilities when calling on prospects.

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