I’ve run into a couple of situations with sales folks recently that remind me that common sense does not reign supreme in the sales world.

First, someone I barely know called and acted interested in the products I provide.  He had read enough about me (web site, LinkedIn) to know how to make small talk, but had missed some critical pieces of the puzzle in knowing what makes me tick.  After I had about two sentences out, I was cut off mid-sentence (and cutting me off is hard to do!).  It became a one-way monologue of what they could do for me.  Then right in the middle of the call, his (other) phone rings, and he asks if I’ll hold while he answers “a really important call I’m expecting.”  Who’s this call about again?

Bad etiquette is not confined to cold calls on the phone.

On (Tuesday), January 19th, I got an unsolicited email from a guy who is apparently selling sales (training, methodology, tools, whatever).  His lead paragraph ends with a big IF statement — “If your company is in this situation, how will you make this work?”  We’ll never know — it doesn’t apply to me.  He gave four bullet points — all with made up, meaningless statistics — touting how if I rip the guts out of my current situation, all will be right with the world.  His emails ends with a call to action: “If you’re interested in learning more see this URL.”  Since I had no interest, I didn’t visit the URL. 

Then on (Tuesday), January 26th, I get a follow-up email from the same guy apologizing for the interruption, asking if I got the first email, more wild claims (no stats this time), and a call to action: “If you’d like to know more, just respond to this email or call me at…”  I didn’t want to know more, and I didn’t call.

Today (Tuesday), I get a(nother) unsolicited email from the same guy.  The wording has changed, the message is the same.  The action is weaker still: “We can help you improve” (we’ve gone from stats to unsupported claims to helping me improve).  “To discuss, just reply with YES to this email or call …”  I didn’t call.  Nor will I ever. 

I’m left wondering if he was on vacation last Tuesday.  Or maybe I only rate to get unsolicited emails three of every four weeks from him.  He probably had an important email to send the other week.

Several tips here…

If you initiate the call, it has to be the most important call you can have at that moment.
Give your (potential) clients something of value, not just information about you.
If people aren’t responding, change the message.
“IF” is a weak call to action.  Use stronger verbage.

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