Sales Etiquette

Last month, I blogged about how businesses, and in particular, how advertisers, need to treat salespeople with respect and care.  After all, salespeople are professionals trying to do their job in a highly competitive environment.  And they may also be a potential customer, and who wants to alienate potential customers?

Having said that, salespeople also need to recognize that there’s a difference between persistence and pestering.  Between sales calls and intrusions.  Between providing real value and hawking a pre-packaged proposal developed by a sales manager.  Business owners, marketing managers, advertising directors are all very busy and trying to do their jobs in competitive environments.

Having been on both sides of the desk, I understand the challenges of each.  As a business owner, there are daily calls/emails/texts/mail from folks who want to sell stuff.  Most of it I don’t want or need.  Some of it I do.  Generally, I make every effort to reply.  And the ones I do reply to are respectful of my time. They make the effort to research my company and at least try to infer from that research what my needs might be.  They don’t just show up, say “I’m so-and-so from such-and-such and want to learn a bit about your business.”

Learn on your own time.  Know my business and competition.  Make an appointment.  Show up early.  Provide value.  And if you can’t get an appointment, it means you haven’t demonstrated why it’s worth it for someone to take time away from their overflowing to-do list to meet with you.

That doesn’t mean you give up (see “persistence”).  It means you occasionally send articles, notes, links, etc. that show you’re interested in helping your prospect be more successful, effective, profitable.  And then they might, when it’s right for them, be willing to meet with you.  And maybe even buy from you.  And if you and your product are as good as you say, everyone wins.

And winning is a beautiful thing.

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