How Not To Sell
The other day, I received a sales call at work. The salesperson pitched me on purchasing ad space in an event program benefiting a well-known nonprofit. “Mike” began the call by stating I had asked him last year to call again in 2013. This could be true, but it’s not my SOP. I try not to lead people on — I don’t want to be bothered, and why waste someone else’s time? He continued his pitch about the event, the program, and pricing (nothing about the charity). I explained I was busy and asked for an email with attached information. He answered, “We can’t send that information, but would the ¼ page ad or full page be best for you?” I told Mike his sales pitch was wasted on me — I wanted facts. He didn’t answer. Next, I asked for their website, and was told they don’t have one. Once again, he went for the close — this time, offering lower priced options. That was enough for me. I politely told Mike event program advertising wasn’t in the budget, and wouldn’t be in the future. I considered explaining he hadn’t offered enough information to make me feel comfortable, or given me a compelling reason to participate. It would have been wasted on him. He hung up. I don’t think he’ll call back. His replacement might.

Was it a Scam?

There certainly were enough red flags to indicate this, but it may not have been. If it wasn’t a scam, it was a poorly prepared presentation. It reminded me of a bad experience with a sales call my friend, Amber Recker, experienced. The salesperson not only didn’t have the answers I needed — he wasn’t ready to share how participation would benefit my company OR the charity.

What Not to Do

• Don’t talk over or ignore the prospect; listen to them and determine their needs.
• Don’t try to change the subject or talk about something unrelated. Answer questions.
• Don’t rely on a script alone. Be able to answer objections by knowing your product and how it serves the client.
• Don’t lie. Be honest. There’s no such thing as a white lie. Opening a script with like, “You asked us to call you back…” when it’s not true isn’t marketing — it’s lying.

A good salesperson knows his product and his client’s needs. He or she is prepared to answer questions, share the facts, and offer the benefits to the customer. If not, right or wrong, the salesperson may be seen as a scam artist, not a consultant. Are you in sales? How do you prepare to present to prospects?