I gave the thumbs down to a guy selling advertising yesterday. He’s a nice guy and I liked him enough to let him set up a web conference and take some of my valuable time. The web conference didn’t go well for him. He blew it on several fronts and then got rather angry with me. Our conversation ended with the funniest line I’ve ever heard a sales person deliver. “Okay, I can tell that you’re a smart guy. So this is me aborting. Good-bye.”
Well, since being smart must mean that I can see his product has no value, I probably won’t call him back at a future date. He burned the bridge. But his problems started way before he accused me of being too smart to buy his product. Let’s look at his mistakes for the sake of making smarter, more effective sales people.
Last week my phone rang around noon. The ID showed a caller from Florida. I picked up and a nice guy started out by telling me that he liked my website and was interested in what I offer. He mentioned specifically that he liked my approach to business speaking and that the science angle appealed to him (see BizPhyZ.com).
This sounded like a genuine prospect. Then he switched over to sales mode.
Mistake #1. NEVER MISLEAD A POTENTIAL CUSTOMER.
I don’t care if it works. It works only because some people are too polite to tell you to hit the bricks. Most will just hang up.
But his approach was a little smoother as he transitioned from prospect to sales sleaze. He told me that he knew of a lot of people looking for a speaker like me. In fact, he had several people who needed a speaker and he wanted to set a time to talk about this. I asked about fees and he told me that there were fees but I would make it all back on the first deal. Well, that would be hard because I’m currently offering to speak for free anywhere in the country. Kind of hard to make it up in one deal. “Well, it will lead to more business, right?” That’s true so I agreed to the meeting. Here’s the offer for a free speaker if you’d like to see it.
The day of our meeting arrives. I know this is going to be a fiasco because I looked at the company’s website. Even though he uses a Gmail account (red flag) the company name was on the meeting confirmation. They sell mailing lists.
When I discovered that he was a mailing list seller, I sent an email letting him know that I would not be interested in buying a list of email addresses. He didn’t reply.
The meeting started. He immediately started telling me about having 8,000 qualified meeting planners and C-level blah blah blah from Fortune blah blah who are all blah blah and qualified, verified and certified blah blah blah.
Mistake #2. See Number 1. Don’t Lie.
Mistake #3 If this (using spam to get business) is so great, why is he making cold calls? Why doesn’t he just send out emails and let the cash roll in?
Again, he tries to appeal to my ego by saying that lots of people will respond and book me right up if they got a few emails from me. I challenged that and explained my guarantee to him. “If you are not happy, you don’t pay.” No refund. I deliver, then you pay. What about his company? Will they guarantee that I will get business from their list if I do everything they tell me?
“We tried that in the past and it didn’t work out. People got lots of business but wouldn’t pay us,” Brent told me.
I explained to Brent that one of the things I teach clients is that advertising is not like buying a lottery ticket. You don’t roll the dice on advertising. You have a calculated return. Yes, some campaigns will fail. But (I actually told him this) when the CEO of Pepsi or Coke or Target set a $50 million advertising budget, they expect a big return. If you are VP of marketing and tell the CEO there are no guarantees, you’ll be job hunting fast.
Yes, some things will fail. Using his list, if I make a bad email message it will fail. But, a good message should produce a solid return if this method works. You can’t just say, “there are no guarantees”.
Mistake #4 No Guarantee
He started to get testy with me and I explained another very important concept in selling. We often have incomplete information. When we meet resistance, we need to gather information. We gather information by building trust, not by applying pressure. Incomplete information is one of the main reasons sales are lost.
So my new friend Brent says, “Okay, tell me what I need to know to sell you. How much will you spend?”
Mistake #5 Being an Asshole. (sorry)
Brent had no more patience for me even though it was he who was wasting my time. That’s when I asked him why he had to misrepresent his product to get a meeting with me. I asked him why he wasn’t merely sending out emails to his own super qualified list.
That’s when he told me that I was obviously too smart to buy his product, ever. He is right about that.
But he was wrong to tell me that it is obvious that a smart person would never fall for his line.
He never gave me a price. He never offered a small sample to give his method a try—even at a low cost. He never looked for a solution that might benefit me. He never tried to find a way for me to realize a gain that would entice me to want more of what he offers.
Mistake #6 The salesman offered me nothing.
I don’t like spam and I hate getting emails from list houses. I don’t want to become a spammer. Brent needed that information. I tried to give it to him. He ended up mad at me. That’s all bad selling.
Brent is a nice, smart guy. He got some bad training. Too bad.
Here’s my offer. I teach Game Theory as part of my presentation and sales development training. It works. AND prospects actually like the process.The goal is to find pay-offs for your prospect.
I guarantee that it works— with a real guarantee. You learn from what I teach and recognize that it will improve your sales or you pay nothing. I deliver, then you pay.
Sorry Brent. When you’re dealing with someone who works the way I do, you’ve got a tough case to make. Can you meet or beat my guarantee? If you can’t, you won’t sell me.
Chris Reich, CEO
If you’re interested in sales training that works, consider a presentation training class or a simple sales training workshop. Call and discuss. (530) 467-5690