My background is in sales, and as CEO of my own company my role is a sales role too.
As a salesperson I have a couple of competing emotions when dealing with members of that profession:
a. I have some empathy for them, understanding the challenges they face and having “been there” myself;
b. I have high expectations of them, wanting them to represent the “good things” about the profession of sales.
It is a tough job, and learning to be successful is a lifelong task. One of the toughest things to master is that fine line between aggression and persistence.
Perhaps one of the toughest things about that particular challenge is that we (the clients) are all different, and the positioning of our “barriers” is different. What is acceptable to me might be “obnoxious” to you, and vice versa.
I have always tended to the conservative side of that equation, but with sufficient persistence that I shouldn’t be missing out on opportunities. However, the aggressive competitor just might scoop some business from me if I am not persistent enough.
A tough quandary for which every salesperson needs to find their own answer.
Here is an example … I read a sales advice column that suggested a tactic that might work with prospects who are not returning cold calls. The suggestion was to send that person a calendar entry, scheduling yourself in for a conference call to talk about your service or product.
That tactic has been used on me a couple of times, and it really ticked me off. I told the offending companies to remove me from their mailing lists.
So … what is the right answer? Here are a few thoughts …
1. If the salepeople using that tactic had positive results from 10% of their clients, then that might be a whole lot more than if they did not use the tactic.
2. I got mad and told them to take me off their list … but I wasn’t going to buy anyway. Maybe they were better knowing I was “no prospect” rather than wasting their time with me?
3. If the downside results in bad press, how far will that spread and what is the damage done vis-a-vis the increased response rate?
Interesting eh? The aggressive sales guy would get more business than me in this scenario … but its still not a tactic I would be comfortable using.
What do you think?