I have been an ad and marketing guy for a while now, and I’ve been sold by some of the best and some of the worst salespeople across the industry. Many of the best I’ve maintained strong relationships with for many years, but the bad ones? Eh… not so much.
What makes a bad salesperson? It’s actually very easy to point out:
A bad salesperson sends me an email that starts with [name] in the first sentence and then proceeds to tell me how they did some research on my company and felt we should schedule some time to speak about how their service could be of value to me. And by the way, that was not a typo -- I actually received an email last week that was sent to [name], which I can only assume was supposed to have said “Cory.”
A bad salesperson sends me an email that starts with the sentence, “I am following up on the voicemail I left you earlier today” -- when it is very clear he never left me a voicemail. My work phone is a cell phone, so if you called and left me a voicemail, I can pretty much guarantee I would know about it. You’re not fooling anyone with that line.
A bad salesperson sends me emails that begin with, “I was researching your company and I thought Oracle would be a great fit for our SaaS marketing platform – can we schedule a time to discuss?” If you did a little homework, you would likely know that we sell some of the bigger marketing platforms in the industry -- just ask Forrester and Gartner, etc. A bad salesperson doesn’t do his homework and is simply trying to use email as a means to scatter shoot across the landscape.
As a matter of fact, a bad salesperson will keep sending me email every three days that copies and pastes the previous email with a note saying, “I just wanted to get this back to the top of your inbox” (because that is definitely going to work).
In reality, a bad salesperson will simply keep sending emails without making a call or trying to network to me through a mutual connection. A bad salesperson will not go the extra mile to find out something about me before reaching out.
A bad salesperson calls me every day at the same time of day, for two weeks straight, even though I have yet to answer the phone when he calls. I would say it’s safe to assume I am not always busy at that time -- I simply don’t want to speak to him.
A good salesperson will take the time to do some homework. A good salesperson will try to find a mutual connection or a shared interest that warrants a response. A good salesperson will ask questions about my business and my goals or objectives before assuming what he’s selling is going to be of immediate interest to me. A good salesperson is going to leverage some data to understand my interests and behaviors before reaching out, and gather that data through discovery or technology.
A good salesperson is going to engage me as a person first and a potential customer second in order to build a rapport that will hopefully lead to some business. A good salesperson will treat me as a client and not a goal in his call quota. A good salesperson knows this is still a business built on a foundation of relationships.
Don’t be a bad salesperson. Be a good one. Please.