It must be the end of the year. I can’t tell from the unseasonably warm New England weather or the holiday decorations on sale (they’ve been in stores since before Halloween!). Nope, I can tell by the increasing volume of vendors who want to sell me their expertise, product or service to support my “2012 marketing efforts”.
There are some great tele-sales people out there – I know because I’ve done business with them. But sadly they have been few and far between this last month. Most of the requests I receive are a waste of my time, but more importantly a waste of the callers time. In fact, I’ve experienced a ridiculously high volume of what NOT to do. So in an attempt to get time back in my schedule for productive conversations here are approaches that guarantee I will hang up unsatisfied and annoyed from the call. I beg you – don’t do these!
Offense #1 – The Lazy “Colleague”
The most common offense — “Hi, my name is Jack, and I’m calling from XYZ company. I’d like to learn about your marketing plans”. I’m sorry Jack but you’ve given me absolutely no reason to take time out of my busy day to tell you about my plans. It would take approximately 30 minutes for you to do a web search on my company – you’d learn a lot about our SEO efforts, paid advertising strategy and who we sell to. Then maybe you could tell me how you can improve what we’re doing, or save money on what we are doing, or heck even just sound like you care my time is valuable.
Offense #2 – The Know It All
Congratulations, you said something that caught my attention. Now we start to talk specifics about the buyers I want to focus upon. But wait — here’s the kicker you tell me I don’t actually NEED to focus on those buyers and you spend 10 minutes explaining why the data filters I requested aren’t necessary. Word to the wise – DON’T waste our time. Listen, then go back and figure out how you CAN meet my needs.
Offense #3 – The Fraternity/Sorority Recruiter
“I’m reaching out to you because my audience has been asking about your company.” Well that sounds like a great way to get my attention – except 90% of the time its not true. You can’t tell me who has been asking about us or why they want to talk to us. All you can do is try to make a case for “not being left out”. You know what – I don’t want to do what everyone else is doing – I want to do better.
Offense #4 – The Clinger
9 out of 10 times when I answer the phone to an unsolicited caller it was by mistake. I didn’t check caller ID, thought it was someone else or momentarily let Thursday Sangria afternoon put down my guard. So when you ask if I have time to chat, and I say no. I mean it. Take the time to ask me one important question that can be answered in 10 seconds – then ask to send me some follow up materials. Then hang up and send me a well crafted follow up email that shows you listened. Desperately dragging on the call to meet some mandated average call time doesn’t do any of us good.
Callers – your job is hard enough without being a clinger, know it all, frat recruiter or lazy colleague. I know you have it in you to do better. And I promise when you do, I’ll be polite, up front with my needs and you never know, I might even buy something.