Yesterday, I took a sales call from a guy at an email marketing software company. Dissecting the conversation is a fantastic lesson in what not to do in a sales call.  

Sales Guy:  Hi, I saw that your company has a new e-commerce platform--we're the chosen email marketing software for that platform, so I wanted to reach out. (Interesting, I have never heard of them.) What software do you currently use for your email marketing?

Me: I don't divulge that kind of information over the phone, but you are welcome to tell me about your software.

Sales Guy: You don't divulge that over the phone? (A note of clear sarcasm in his voice.) Um, OK. Well, we work with a lot of e-commerce platforms, and our software is really the best. (No mention of why, which means no reason for me to believe this, but I'll suspend disbelief.) Why don't we put a 15-minute call on the schedule to discuss this in about a week?

Me: You've got my attention right now.  (Why ask for a time a week away when you have the person you need on the phone at this very moment?)

Sales Guy: Now? (OK, you're not prepared. Enough said.) Uh, OK. I guess. Well, we are a lot more robust than other providers--we have email campaigns that are based on choices the customer makes as early as their first login to the website, and we also do cart abandonment. (Mazel tov. The software I have already does this, but at least you are getting to some specifics that might be of interest. Too bad it took you three minutes to do that. Also, too bad you are not leveraging the supposed relationship your software has with my e-commerce platform to explain why users like me like your software best. You could have started there and wasted less of your time and mine).

Me: So, what is the cost for your software?

Sales guy: The cost? (Yes, that thing most customers want to know before they agree to buy something.) Uh, well, for you (Uh-oh, you don't have one price for everybody, what a no-no!), um, it depends on how many emails you send, etc.

Me: OK, say 125,000 per year--by that I mean I send to 5,000 subscribers 18 times per year max, and if you add cart abandonment emails, that gives me some wiggle room still. How much would that be?

Sales guy: Well, um, probably between $800-$2000 per month. (I beg your pardon? A $1200 spread per month in the price differential is a lot. It works out to be a lot of extra expense for my company per year if I fall at the high end rather than the low end of the spectrum. It also tells me, you don't know your product well enough to quote me or that your bosses thought they could just put a dialer on this job to net appointments without giving you proper training.)

Me: That's a lot more than we are paying now. I don't think that's going to happen, but if you want to email me some information about what sets your service apart from similar providers, I'll take a look.

Sales Guy: Oh, yeah, sure, so you can look at it and never talk to me again. (Yes, he actually said this. Way to shoot yourself in the foot rather than using your last words to say something meaningful about what you're selling that might change my mind. I mean you've got only this one conversation to make an impression!)

Me: Or I might look at it, and see something that actually looks like it might have value for my company.

Sales Guy: OK, sure, I'll send you information. (There was that sarcasm again, with a voice that sounded like he would not really send anything, but I gave him my email anyway).

Epilogue: He actually sent the email about an hour later--too long after our call if he really wanted to get traction, because I had moved on to other things, but I happen to open it anyway. The contents are as brief as his sales career is going to be. He merely dropped in a link to the company's website. No further declension of the benefits his software can offer a company like mine, no pricing, no request to follow up. Way to go, bro. The selling cycle stops here.

Published on: Jun 4, 2019
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