Lazy + Careless: The Enemies of Successful Selling

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Lazy Homer

Image Credit:  examiner.com

Innovation is alive and well in this country.  I see it firsthand every week by the number of “pitches” I hear from start-up companies as well as the big boys.

If I were tracking the number of pitches per week from sales people that have approached me in 2006 vs. today I bet the number is easily doubled.  Many of them have SOME type of technology under-pinning:  e-commerce, social media, SEO, PR measurement.

Nearly all of them have an out-bound effort to try and open the door:  A cold call, unsolicited email (“cold email”).  Said another way, sales people trying to get in the door.

I hold sales dearly, both as a profession and a business manager that understands strong top-lines are an enabler to strong BOTTOM lines.  But the fact is, the brutal reality of the bell curve exists in the sales profession (like all fields).  There are a small % of people that “Get it right.”

2 common traits that I have been seeing lately among the hunters?

1)  Laziness.

2)  Carelessness

Both traits undermine the person’s credibility and guarantee the door will never get opened.

Laziness is easy to spot.  It’s the unsolicited email where it’s obvious little to no effort was put in.

Carelessness sometimes ruins what is potentially a great approach.  I will share a real life example this past week with key names and data disguised to protect the careless.

I was actually tempted to learn more from Freddy Careless, as this was a relatively well written note.  But it had a one problem:  I sensed it was lacking a “truthiness.”  What do you do when you sense that?

2 Options:

1)  Hit Delete

2)  Ask and confirm, or learn differently

I always choose option 2.  I almost always “coach” a sales person, most probably find it annoying.  I hope some find the feedback constructive and get better as a result.  If they want results they will certainly appreciate it.  Note:  Sometimes “Coach” is as simple as shining light on the salesperson’s approach, asking a question.

Freddy Careless Email

Dear Mark, Did you know that X% of the US Fortune 500 rely on ABC to make smarter decisions?  I work with a number of people in your organization to establish cost-effective solutions to meet the specific needs of marketing and strategy professionals.  Here are examples of how ABC® can help:
  • Track significant developments related to brands, market trends and competitors while uncovering opportunities  with XXX+ news and social media sources, XXX company & financial, over XXX industry sources
  • Monitor your competitors and clients 
  • Gain statistics-based insights
  • Stay up to date on clients, competitors, and executives with email alerts
  • Work more efficiently – with tools that pull relevant information from multiple sources with a single search and can be integrated into your current systems

If you haven’t seen ABC lately, it’s worth taking a look.  I would like to set up a discussion around your marketing and strategy objectives to learn how ABC can help you gain a competitive edge with critical information that covers your customers and markets.

How is your schedule next week for a 15 minute phone call?

Sincerely,

Freddy Careless

ABC inc.

Response TO Freddy

When you say you “work with a number of people in your org”….who and what context?

Thanks for reaching out, Mark

Response FROM Freddy

Hello Mark,

We do not work with anyone in your organization at this time.  Many of our clients have large organizations and we work in several different departments.  I apologize if that email came off like we work with someone in your organization.  But we would love to speak with you for a quick ten minute call to learn more about you and your organization.  Do you have anytime next week?

Response back TO Freddy:  Shut-door

That’s how it did come off because you said exactly that, but I do realize you may have been copying and pasting a form type intro note.

Sorry I do not have time to take a call, I am approached by many companies a week with similar offerings and can’t take intro calls on all of them.

However, feel free to send over a capabilities deck on your company with pricing overview and I will certainly review that.

Lessons

Cutting and Pasting Door Opening Notes?  Danger zone….

Stretching the truth?  An inexcusable show-stopper….

 

This experience is dealing with the under-performer.  Every now and then you will come across a top-notch pro.  I profiled one in “A Wake-Up Call To Sales.”  Harry Hustler still stands out….

 

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Comments

  1. Harry Hustle says:

    Another classic! Hopefully, the sales reps take your feedback as coaching. The difference between you and the hundred of other CMO’s, is you care. You truly want to make the sales person better out of appreciation from the art of selling.

  2. Elizabeth Brooks says:

    I’ve received this same email so many times and my response is always the same. First rule: don’t lie. Second rule: If you must stretch the truth, stretch something unverifiable! Great piece.

    Cheers, Elizabeth

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