Friday, September 19, 2008

Are there any good sales people anymore?

My GOD! What a frustrating experience my first 10 days of setting up a company has been! I feel like I have to beg people to give them my business! Are there any good sales people anymore?

Here are some of my expereinces:

Calling into a VOIP company to find out about phone service and the sales rep did not ask me my name (even when I asked him his), asked me nothing about my business and then proceeded to launch into an interrogation type discovery process. I told him I was late for another meeting and to send me some information which he completely ignored and when I said "I really have to go", he told me to call him back later. One hot prospect lost, with no means to ever track me down again.

Calling into another VOIP company. Rep is pleasant and clueless. He never asks me anything about my business but sends me a quote anyway. He quotes me 3 licences, installation and equipment. After sending out a search party for him to bet back to me, we review the quote. I tell him that I am looking at their web site and some of the items he quoted me say that they are included in the price, at which point he challenges me. "Could you just look into for me" was my closing remarks. He sends me back a quote for 75% less than the original quote. I suppose he read his own web site and decided to learn what exactly it was that he was selling. I don't think he was trying to deceive me, I really think he did not know the products.

I have to make one more comment about this guy. He leaves me a meandering pointless message and after he says good bye, but before he hangs up, he lets out a HUGE BELCH! As soon as I can figure out how to get the message off my cell phone, I will add it to this post. It is shocking.

Last Story: We have been working for months with a potential vendor who is uncooperative, condescending and a control freak. After months of going no where, I decide that we should part ways and a new account manager should be assigned to our company. This sparks a complete personality turn around. Not only is she pleasant, but she follows up and is diligent on seeing issues through. Unfortunately for her, the damage has already been done and we have lost all faith in her. She treated us so poorly during the sales phase, that we fear that once the contract is signed, we will see the old rep who treated us like commoners. The trust is gone.

As I sit on the other side of the sales table, as a buyer, it is a disappointing realization that most sales people do not know how to sell. Sales is such a simple, repeatable process and yet so many sales people skip important steps:

1) Call people back! Holy Crap! How hard is that to do?
2) Don't be a jerk! No one buys from people they don't like or trust!
3) Know your product! Read the PDF's your marketing department sends you!
4) Don't be a hard a$$! Negotiations are supposed to be a win win experience. We all get that both sides have to make concessions. Negotiating is a journey that should build upon your relationship, not ruin it.
5) Don't assume. Ask people about their business. They want to tell you! They want to help you! Ask the questions that are important to placing your product or services with their business and do a proper discovery so you can present an accurate solution.

Out of all of the horrors of this week was one shining star - Kim Mackie at NetSuite. As a former employee of NetSuite and now a NetSuite customer, Kim had a polished and thorough Sales Process, a religious follow up, she is pleasant and between her and SE Robert Braderic, I felt that they were looking out for me. Granted, I know them but I have also seen them treat many other NetSuite customers the same way they treated me and really, they are just good people.

As I build my own sales team, I will use these recent experiences to remind them of the basics.

In sales, it's not about you, it's about them - the customer.

Have a lovely weekend!

Susan Corcoran


Richard Desmarais said...

That's an absolute horry story about the guy belching. Un-be-lie-va-ble.

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Alfred Acitelli said...

5 simple rules for sales success!

Love it . . .