I admit that I rant often about how important it is for salespeople to engage their prospects with a message that is relevant to them. The common practice, unfortunately, is to call someone (or email them) with some sort of sales pitch. Very little thought, if any, is given to the message being sent.
Here is the voicemail that I received, which I posted on LinkedIn. I wanted to hear what other people had to say about it. I suppose I needed to be sure that it wasn’t just me being nit picky.
The message went like this…
“Hi, Barbara – this is XYZ rep at XYZ company. Let’s have a call to probe and see how your company and ours can team up.”
Seriously? I’m going to waste my time so said sales person can “probe” to see if there are opportunities. Do a little homework using LinkedIn or the web and determine where there might be value for me/my company. Then call me with that message. I will listen. Until then…buh bye.
Here is what some folks on LinkedIn had to say…
Tony Zanger Our research is showing that Buyers are researching sellers before engaging them in the sale. It only makes sense for sellers to do the same. The resources available to sellers before the call are enormous. They should be put to good use.
Rosemarie Lederer I can’t stress enough how important it is to research the company you are calling on and figure out how you can provide an added value to them. Find out the right person to speak with and what role they play in the company.
Kevin Carter I never realized how good I am at sales until I was in purchasing and saw firsthand how many horrible sales people there are out there.
Barry Nelson Pre-call planning is such an under-utilized, but absolutely necessary step! Barbara, I couldn’t agree with you more.
Trish Bertuzzi I hate the word “probe”.
I realize that salespeople and their managers may think that doing a little up front homework is a waste of time. They believe that cranking out emails or smiling and dialing is more efficient. If you truly generate sales results with these activities, then by all means go for it. BUT, if you leave voicemails like the one above, you are kidding yourself if you think your sales efforts are making a difference.
It is so ridiculously easy to prepare yourself before engaging prospects, which is why I have little patience with lazy salespeople who don’t do the work. Yes, I said lazy. Is it easier to send the same mass email to everyone? Is it easier to leave the same voicemail as the one noted above? Sure. Is it the way to fill your pipeline with real opportunities? No way.
In this LinkedIn post I wrote called Does Your Sales Message Suck, you can read a few examples of emails guaranteed not to get a response either. Don’t be that guy or that gal who sends them!
In this day and age, if you want to stand apart from your competitors – and it actually isn’t that hard – think before you call or email someone. How you sell is far more important than what you sell! Message matters and you probably won’t get a second chance if you blow it.