Monday, June 16, 2008

Revised: When sales people call and you wish they hadn't

In honor of blog guru Kevin Dugan's hosted blog on the writing process -- I revised a post from last week for fun. I still think I could edit more...
Revised blog:
I wonder if I am doing something wrong. I get these messages:

* "Yes, Wendy. I'm just following up after the (huff) voice mail I left last week (huff) and the e-mail I sent the week before about the media tracking service we can you. Please call me back. (last huff)"

* "Wendy! I've left two voice messages and at least one e-mail about Summer Games, that you guys have going on. We really need to get started on the copy so we can get on air in time." (This message comes after an ad was already on air on a different station.)

Printers call to see if we need something printed. Radio ad sales people call to see what events we have coming up. At least two people call every day wanting me to spend some of our organization's money with them. I also write and edit newsletters, our Web site, pitch ideas to media, plan marketing for our events and program growth and write grants. And I don't have time to help them figure out how they can help me.

What do you do when someone leaves a message (so glad we have caller ID now) about a service he wants to tell you about? Do you call him back and say, thanks but no thanks? So Or, do you ignore him? (That's what I do)

Also, speaking of dealing with sales people. I'm getting ready to buy another car. Got any tips for how to get a good deal, other than bring a male shark negotiator?


Dom P said...

Let me see if I can comment from the other side of the equation...

As a sales person I do make phone calls and leave voicemails. Part of the function of sales is to reach out and find new business opportunities.

Many people forget that without sales the business stops. Nothing happens until there is a sale. Regardless of your job, your company, your industry, your products, or your services. No sales means you're out of business.

My point is that the phone calls and voicemails are justified, and necessary. So keep that in mind when receiving such calls.

That being said, you don't need to return voicemails if you don't think there is any reason for you to do so.

However answering the phone and politely refusing when being called is typically a more productive process. Any good sales person knows their product or service. You know your business needs. Spend a minute on the phone. If there is no potential for a fit saying so it not a bad thing, and there will be no follow up annoyance.

Like anything else there are exceptions to this. Telemarketing call centers come to mind.

With respect to the emails being sent to you by the same sales people leaving voicemails - reply to them. A simple, "Thanks for your email, but I'm not interested at this time" will usually do the trick.

As a side note, the thing I hate the most is when my calls are treated with boorish behavior. This is not to say that you are being rude at all. Unfortunately, some people treat a call from a sales person as an opportunity to be incredibly rude and say things that would be completely unacceptable in a face to face environment.

If anything I caution you and your readers against this type of behavior for the sake of karma. I have called on companies and had a receptionist or manager treat me like garbage, only to end up doing business with that same company any way. I can tell you that it gets really awkward when a manager or director introduces you in person to someone that treated you very rudely.

I hope that offers a bit of insight from the other side...

City Sights and Observations said...

I wonder if you've called me before. Thank you Dom P -- I'll take an extra minute next time to say there is no potential for a fit. I'm sorry some phone call receivers are rude.If anything, they should screen their calls. :)

I prefer e-mails from sales people with quick descriptions of what they are selling and graphics or some sort of proof why the product works for other companies and how it could work for us.

Dom P said...

Ha! No, no. :)

I don't think I've ever called you before. Sorry if my comment gave that impression!

I very much appreciated reading your post and thought you might appreciate some insight from those calling you.

Oh - and you're posts on car salesmen were great too. Even as a sales person I'm apprehensive when it comes to buying a car.

One tip I can offer is to pay extra attention to the time you buy a car. The best time to get a great deal is the end of the month, end of quarter. This is because the sales manager will authorize better deals simply to get more cars off the lot. The reason for that is that the cars are not paid for in cash, rather with 90 day terms. So if a car sits on the lot for more than 90 days the dealer starts to pay interest on it and actually loses his slim profit very quickly. It's better to give you a great deal than lose all profit.

Hope that helps!