Imagine you are hard at work at your desk, perhaps checking some email, or formatting a very important TPS report. Imagine you are in the thick of it, when all of a sudden the phone rings. You pick up and on the other end hear: “Hello may I speak to ‘Mr. Mispronounced Name’ regarding ‘Totally butchered Client name/product?’” What do you do? You may swallow a laugh, let them know you are the right person, then most likely hear a robotic sales pitch that ends with ‘can I send you some more info?' Then you hang up, praying you never hear from them again.
Ok, maybe I’m overstating it just a bit…. But across America, this must happen millions times every business day, wasting the time of both the caller and call-ee, destroying efficiencies and interrupting productivity of kabillions of companies, resulting in the loss of life of trillions of cute kittens. SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!
But seriously, it is an annoying waste of time benefitting neither party involved. So what authority does a marketing company have to talk about sales training? A Ton. Why? Because we work with a lot of salespeople, day-in and day-out. Besides clients, that’s who we are working with – sales reps from different media companies. As media buyers, we are the ones that they have to sell, so we’re kind of a big deal. And having been a media sales rep in the past, I have a soft spot in my heart for helping good sales reps get better. Plus I don’t want bad reps wasting my time or yours...
So here are a few tips for sales reps before you Cold Call on me:
1. Do Your Research. Go to my company’s or client’s website. Know how to pronounce it. Be aware of how we are using products and/or services like yours in the market. Have a couple of key questions to ask me to engage in a thoughtful, helpful conversation. Otherwise I’m going to rush you off the phone.
2. What’s in it for me? When you call me, the last thing I want to hear is about your last minute fire sale – you don’t even know if your service is a fit, much less if I even have budget. So you’ve got to couch what you’re selling as a solution to my problem (which perhaps you’ve discovered in your research - see point 1). Remember, you’ve just interrupted my day – make it worth my time by adding value to me and my client. Be interested, not interesting.
3. Be a human. We’ve all had the experience of the green sales rep who’s obviously reading from a script and it’s painful. Then there’s the other extreme of the overly friendly rep who is dropping names of long-lost connections from your LinkedIn profile and that’s equally painful (and creepy). My best advice is just be human. A phone call is simply a conversation, so talk to me like you would want to be talked to and get to know me. Remember before I buy from you I have to know, like, and trust you – that’s a sales fundamental.
Once you have me, Mr. Joe Salesperson how do you keep me happy? That’s another post for another day. But for now, take this advice from a top media buying firm and it will be a much more effective way to meet your quota while limiting time wasted for everyone. And if you need another reason, please - do it for the kittens.
If you have any other sales advice, please leave it in the comments!