Terry’s 2017 takeaway – Sales post

During my few minutes over lunch today I was privileged to be able to read a post by a Director of Marketing and Communications, who was politely telling sales people to stop calling her in this very public format.

In all honesty I didn’t find it all that polite at all, in fact at times it was very condescending, but bear with me because she did raise a few good points.

Sales professionals worldwide can glean a lot of good value from this post on some of the dos and don’ts in our profession.


  • Do make sure you do your research on both the company and the person you are calling.
  • Do be tenacious but DON’T be over zealous
  • Do be friendly
  • Do be respectful
  • Do have a true value proposition
  • Do believe in yourself and your company


  • Do not be over familiar
  • Do not be condescending
  • Do not be presumptuous
  • Do not try to trick somebody into talking to you (if you start with a lie how can they trust you- sales is built on trust)

There is a whole raft of others to add to both lists but you get the picture and  Lisa does go into some of her own pet hates in the blog.

But the bit that got me a little hot under the collar today was this

“Skip the “May I have some time on your calendar?” and hit me up for “the day and time that work best.” Whoa, cowboy or cowgirl — the first step is persuading me that I need your product or service. (And if we both know I don’t need what you’re offering, a meeting is going to waste the time you could spend closing a deal with someone else.)

If were going to be talking about being presumptuous then this statement highlighted in bold really is at the top of that tree. As a sales professional my first step is not about persuading anyone that my product or service is what they need. My first intention is first, and absolute foremost, about understanding your company’s unique set of requirements and only if I speak to the people in your company who have those requirements, can I then understand if the product and services we have are a good fit.

In this respect therefore I have to take umbrage with Lisa.

I rarely speak to somebody who hasn’t been able to take away some benefit from the conversation I’ve had with them. This wisdom is a service I offer for the small cost of your time. Not always will this lead to further conversations but I can guarantee that the 5 or 10 minutes we share together will be productive for both of us. It will also be a lot less time consuming for both of us too. By screening every call that comes in you are wasting an extraordinary amount of time especially if that person has you on repeat dial for several weeks. By taking the call you will facilitate 2 major things.

  1. You will know for sure that the services we offer are or are not right for you. Surprise, surprise not every company out there has an identical offering, even if the end result of the service or product delivered is the same. Quite often a company with longevity and customer specific focus will have methodologies which can vastly improve your own productivity even though the service on face value looks the same.
  2. And this might also come a shock to you, until such time as we have established if there really isn’t a fit for our services, we will continue to call, email, and whatever other methods we feel are necessary because our ultimate goal is to make your life better. If we can’t do that then we’ll walk away, because that really would be a waste of everybody’s time.

So please the next time you get a sales call from one of the hundreds and thousands you receive just try to remember that a small minority of us sales guys out here, are actually trying to help you and telling us to stop trying to help you is like asking your mum not to stopping loving you. Please don’t compare my persistence to me being some annoying fly that won’t leave your food alone on a hot summer’s day, because if the truth be told a simple thanks but no thanks could go a long way to building that next relationship that you so dearly treasure. And it maybe that in the future you have a need for something we can offer and provide to other clients in your space that you currently don’t know exisits.


One thought on “Terry’s 2017 takeaway – Sales post

  1. Hi TGL,

    FYR, this is what I sent to Lisa in my reply:

    Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for your article, it is refreshing to hear straight talk from a buyer’s perspective. I also have been on both sides of the equation and sympathise with both sides’ challenges.
    If I may, I’d like to add two contributions here:

    1. Some services or products are not easy to convey in a voice mail or short email introduction. So it may be difficult to get that message across without having a short phone or Skype call first off. By assuming that you don’t need a cold-caller’s product or service you run the risk of inadvertently ignoring something innovative or disruptive that you and your employer could benefit from. At the same time, I get it that vendors need to be clear and succinct in their value messaging. Often, it’s a challenge to get that right.

    2. If there is no reply to a voice mail message then the vendor can’t be sure that you ever received it. So, they call back again and do exactly what you advise not to do. Further, their sales manager has probably told them to “follow up”, so they will. The other day I heard someone from SFDC say that sellers often make a sale after the 7th (!) contact attempt. So, salespeople are being told that repeated calls are good sales practice. Personally, I don’t agree with this approach, but, hey, if that’s what the boss says that’s what they’ll do.

    Lastly, now that you have told vendors what NOT to do, what is best practice to you, in terms of introducing a company, product or service to you ? What would you like to see ? Because just sitting there and waiting for you to ask a colleague for a recommendation is not the answer for vendors either. 🙂


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