Ever since I became an entrepreneur running our own company I had to deal with salespeople, cold calling, and spammy emails. I have had various forms of bad and worse points of contact. That made me wonder…
This is a rant.
I myself am not a sales person. I feel like an intruder and know that most of the time people do not want to have me calling. That is one reason why I love blogging, content marketing, and inbound marketing. As the goal is with our activity to attract people to get in touch with us – and it works.
But that also means that not only potential clients get in touch but also… more sales people.
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And I still wonder why your sales team is doing such a bad job…
It starts with people calling me and not saying what they want. And when I ask „so you want to sell me your product?“ They lie to me „No, I just want to talk about xxx.“
Don’t you know that being caught in a lie is a bad way of starting a relationship? Do you really expect me to listen to you and trust you enough to eventually buy your product (and do not try to convince me that that is not what you are after) if your first activity with me is lying?
I’d be much more inclined to listen to what you are saying if you started with: “Hey, I’ve got a product to tell you about – but before you hang up: I am convinced it solves one of your problems.”
Also trying to hide your intentions behind nicer words like „cooperation“ or „partnership“ is not going to do the trick. Guess why? Because I am not that stupid and me buying your product and you doing nothing is neither a cooperation nor a partnership.
If you are trying to sell, then that is not a cooperation. Don’t try to convince me otherwise – or I will hang up.
3. Offering Products that Have Nothing to Do with ME
It will not help you make huge amounts of sales if you contact heaps of untargeted people just because you bought an email list. There may be a chance deal in between but most of the time your competitors will be far ahead of you, building relationships and nurturing real leads with great content and value.
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Some SEO “experts” actually are the most annoying and lying sales people out there and sometimes as a fellow online marketer I am simply ashamed. Writing us emails to an old exploreB2B email address not associated with The Social Ms at all, saying “we had a look at your website and found several aspects you badly need to optimize, and we can tell you how to do that” leaves me plain speechless.
Now, you may have failed to notice, that the exploreB2B website is down. And that has been like that for over a year now. So whatever you saw and wanted to optimize – it is very well hidden, in fact so well hidden that Google will not care for it no matter what you optimize and search traffic is plainly the last thing we care for on that website.
5. Repeated Follow-Ups on Cold Emails
And while sending me information about a product that I might be interested in but did not ask for may be ok, I wonder how YOU can be pissed if I did not react after a few hours. And in this case, I am also not a lead you can nurture with your newsletter. I regard this kind of behavior as spam and treat it accordingly.
It is part of our job to communicate with other people – even sales people. And it is part of the fun as a blogger. To be recognized as valuable. Do not get me wrong; I enjoy getting messages from a lot of people: marketing people, entrepreneurs and business people getting in touch for various reasons.
I know that following up is a part of a good sales funnel – but when you found or bought my email address, there is no need to send me follow ups every 8 hours.
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Get your sales team to do a better job
I won’t give you an instruction on how to get in touch with us. Part of what will make your request successful is that it is personal, unique and coming from you. But it is a bad idea to start off your business relationship with a lie or an open attempt to rip me off.
And while you are right that the relationship is slightly off balance at the time when you get in touch, because YOU want something from me and I so far do not care about you, you are still wrong in trying to redeem the balance by claiming to offer something that you are not.
If you are only trying to sell me something, be open about it. It will save us both a lot of time if I can say no fast. And if I did say no I do not want to argue about it. It was your choosing to go for cold calling now you have to live with the bad conversion rate and better not try to steal my time.
If you want to call your sales pitch, a collaboration or partnership then think of something you can offer me in return. Collaboration is always two sided. You are right that it will probably be easier to start a collaboration than getting a cold sale. But just calling it names won’t cut it, be creative. And we are not necessarily talking money here.
We have had people writing guest posts before they asked us if we would be willing to check out their product. We have had people offering free memberships in return for a review – that will work if I really see a benefit for using a tool. I am already using far too many tools a new one is not going to make it to my toolkit if it is not fulfilling a need.
It is people like you that make me loath salespeople. And while I did have some interesting talks to salespeople who obviously did a better job, my impression is that there is something seriously going wrong in the sales department. Maybe you should have your sales team talk to a content marketer or an online sales expert once in a while before you hurt your brand’s reputation with your bad sales efforts?