Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Don't Do This

Moments ago I hung up on a caller.

My cell phone rang, I looked at the caller ID and it said UNAVAILABLE.

Usually I would let it go to voicemail as a call screening measure.

But today I was curious.

I opened the phone and said, "Hello?"

(My usual, automatic way of answering is , "Hi, this is Scott, how can I help you?")

I didn't want to give my mystery caller the advantage of my name yet.

They asked for the Sales Manager or Human Resources Manager.

I asked why.

They said they had an offer for the appropriate manager and wanted to make sure they spoke to the right person.

I said I was the person they wanted to talk to.

Then the guy on the phone launched into a sales pitch.

Ten seconds into his pitch I hung up on him.

He has not called me back.

If your job is to make unsolicited phone calls to sell something over the phone to someone you don't know, then get a different job. This is like telephone spam, and it got so bad that a few years ago we enacted Do Not Call List laws.

But I need to use my phone as part of the selling process, you say. I know, I do too.

So here's a couple tips.

Avoid Selling Over The Phone. I don't want a sales pitch and I'm not giving you my credit card number. Most likely I will simply hang up on you.

Instead, use your phone to schedule an appointment. You say, but I don't set appointments, I sell over the phone.

Let me ask you, How's it working for you? What's your closing ratio? How many dozens, no hundreds of calls do you have to make before you make a sale?

If you must sell over the phone, then work smart. Use a combination of calls and email to communicate. Make an appointment to do a sales presentation over the phone.

Yeah, that's right, call and ask for a time to call back and talk for 5 or 10 minutes and do a Customer Needs Assessment. Do your research ahead of time before you get to the decision maker.

Oh, and stop blocking caller ID. If you work for a company that has to hide who they are, then you don't want to work there.

Now, go out there and be a pro.

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