We are all inundated with sales calls. And as long we’ve been alive, telemarketers have been using the phone to find business. But it feels like it’s getting worse, doesn’t it? We are living in the 21st century, but many salespeople are still engaging with people as if we are stuck in the 20th century, particularly the loud and aggressive “QVC commercial era”.
This is not only annoying, it’s sad and unproductive too. Conversations in business should be focused on alignment and mutually actionable and beneficial value.
As technology becomes even more ubiquitous and capable of collecting data based on your behaviors, engagement tracking has become more prevalent and precise. That should be making things better, right? Well, not always, and sales professionals need to accept the burden of the fault.
But this isn’t for them. It’s for you. The operators, technologists, managers, directors, and CXO’s who get these calls every day, all day long.
Why would any sales professional waste, not just their own time, but your time as well, by fishing for information in this age? I specifically touched on why this is still happening in my previous post, “What Richard Branson Taught Me About Conversations.” In it, I’ve highlighted what it means to have truly actionable and effective conversations, and what needs to be done to attain them.
However, before you try to have such conversations, let’s make sure your counterparts are worthy of your time and effort. Below are the 3 tips that you should leverage against sales professionals to get yourself out of non-actionable conversations within the first few minutes.
1- Do They Know Alignment
Most of the time, sales professionals have data to see what you or your people are engaging with. That’s okay, but is the sales professional equipped with the knowledge of how that engagement aligns with your or your company’s objectives?
2- Can They Connect the Dots?
After the intro, ask them why they think this topic should concern you. Question how their value propositions will affect your execution, deliverables, and time-to-value. If the sales professional’s only intention is to get you to the next step, the conversation will fall flat here.
3- Are they Comfortable with Your Decision-Making Cycle?
This is a tricky one. As a sales professional, I like to believe we all try to align with our counterpart’s decision-making cycle. There is a problem though… Operators, technologists, CXO’s, everyone brushes off sales professionals by asking for more info. You know, the classic “send me an email and I will follow up” scenario.
Well, what if an email follow-up is actually what you need, and you don’t have time to chat further? How do you get that across to a sales professional, so you don’t waste any more time?
Sales professionals who care about actionable value will try their best to understand the content that’s going to be most beneficial for you, before following your direction. So if they ask a quick follow up question to understand what type of content you’re looking for and why, take them seriously.
At the end of the day, your time is limited, and we know you want to get rid of unwanted phone calls and limit the amount of emails in your inbox. Believe it or not, true sales pros don’t want to waste your time or theirs, either. By quickly eliminating the conversations that won’t add value to your day but engaging with those that do, you’ll be more productive, you can learn more about new developments in your industry, and you can also find a new trusted advisor.
What is your take on this read? I want the good, bad, and the ugly! So, let me know what you think of my tips, and whether or not they work for you. And, if you have any others to add, please feel free to comment here.