Today I had a shocking sales conversation.  What made it worse, the person was selling sales training!  Imagine selling sales training to a sales training company – I’m not going to be their typical buyer!  Here’s how the conversation went:Sales Mistakes

Sales Rep:  Hello.  I understand you are in charge of training.

Alice:  Yes.

Sales Rep:  Lucky you. (chuckle)

Alice:  Yes, I agree.  Lucky me.

Sales Rep:  I’m with XYZ company (I will protect the company).  Do you know about us?

Alice:  Yes, I’m familiar with you.

Sales Rep:  Oh, good.  Can I tell you a little more detail about us?

Alice: (I’ve decided to be humored.) Yes.

Sales Rep:  For 3 minutes they mentioned all of the features of their on-demand 5 minute video sales training followed by:  May I ask you a few questions about your training needs?

Alice:  First, what do you know about me and my company?

Sales Rep:  I know you are in my database and came up for me to call you today.

Alice:  Okay, what do you know about me and my company?

Sales Rep:  I know your name, let me see if I can pull up the contact information with the name of your company.

No I can’t get that screen back.  Why don’t you tell me your company name and more about you?

Alice:  Why don’t you do a little research first and then call me back.

Sales Rep:  Can’t you tell me anything?

Alice:  Since I also am in the sales training business, what I can tell you is you are breaking Rule #1 in selling – you don’t know anything about me or my company.  No preparation.  Yet you’ve picked up the phone and called me expecting to make a sale or at least advance a sale.  Do your homework and call me back.

Sales Rep:  What good would that do me if you too are in the sales training business?

Alice:  Really?  You’re asking that?

Sales Rep:  Since you won’t tell me, I don’t see what good it would do me.

Alice:  Okay, good luck and good-bye!

OMG, this sales person is probably saying how rude I was, and possibly that anyone else they called and received a no was due to a bad list they were working from. 

Lesson to sales managers – emphasize to your sellers not to connect with anyone until they have thoroughly prepared with these steps:

  1. Identify the person and company contacting.  Visit their website, Linkedin and Twitter accounts to verify this is a potential customer.
  2. Determine the objective of the conversation. What do you want to accomplish? 
  3. List what you already know and the information needed to gain.  Now you have the gaps towards the objective.
  4. Create questions to confirm what you already know and discover the need to know information.  Quality, prepared questions guarantee effective and efficient collaborative sales conversations.
  5. Anticipate any barriers that would keep them from moving to the next step and prepare responses or additional questions.  This is often overlooked by sales people and is the main reason sellers struggle with objections.
  6. Answer for yourself: What would success look like for this conversation?  With this top of mind (along with the objective of the call) the conversation will be relevant and remain on track.

Follow good preparation practices and your sellers will never have a conversation like the one I had today. 

Let’s have some fun with this,what is the worst sales call you ever received?