Handling sales calls

I receive quite a lot of sales calls and I’m certain I’m not handling them properly.  The problem is that I’m probably not interested in what they’re trying to sell me yet I don’t want to miss out on something that could interest me. So generally I’ll ask them to email me some details and I try to take a look.

But it doesn’t stop there.  They want to follow up with me to see if I’m interested yet and this goes on and on ad infinitum! So how can I deal with them better?

My idea is to put stuff out in the public. I’ll tell you what I’m interested in hearing about and you tell me what your offering is.  If I like it, we can talk further about the offering with the possibility of using your software or service.

If on the other hand I’m not impressed or it’s not something I’m interested in then I’ll tell you, and the rest of the world.  How does that sound for a deal?

So here’s a few things to get you started with my thoughts…

Content Management Systems

I am almost certainly not interested in acquiring a content management system.  This blog contains lots of posts about our approach to building websites and you’ll quickly see that doesn’t involve decentralising control to several thousand content publishers.  A good place to start is my presentation “Building an Anti-CMS” from PHP North West.

Having said that, if your approach offers something genuinely different – I’m thinking along the lines of an approach to openness that isn’t usually seen – then I’m interested in seeing your product, but it’s still unlikely we’d adopt it in the next 18 months.

Search Engine Optimisation / Paid Advertising

If you make any claims that you can control anything in this sphere, I don’t want to hear from you.  Far too many people are peddling snake oil and it’s not funny.  If you want to send me a “free report” and it’s simply an output from some free tool then don’t be surprised if I’m not impressed.

The only thing I’m likely to be interested in related to SEO/Adwords is good value training to allow us to do some stuff in-house.  Ideally you would be able to cover a variety of technical and content-editing topics over a day’s course.

Virtual Tours

Some interest in these but you need to be honest about what you’re offering.  If you’re making use of a free package to create the 360-photos then admit it – I can tell from the Flash player you’re using anyway.  Show us what value you can add to the offering.

Open for submissions now

I don’t have the time to build a fancy submission system so I suggest using this blog post.  If you want me to have a look at something leave a comment below with a link to the demo website or any other information you have.  Comments are approved prior to appearing and it’s possible Akismet will spam trap them even earlier – if that’s the case then you might want to look at your sales description 😉

Apologies to all the people who’ve phoned me over the last 12 months and I’ve fobbed off – it’s a fresh start from here so feel free to submit now!

Published by Mike Nolan

Head of Web Services

3 replies on “Handling sales calls”

  1. Interesting idea – if it can make sales folk think a bit more before trying to sell to me then it gets my vote.

    We have a different approach. We have taken to answering the phone to sales people in a variety of foreign languages.

  2. As an ex-, and I stress the ‘ex-‘, salesman (albeit not in the IT field) I empathise with your plight. I have first hand experience on how difficult it will be to encourage the openness you seek.My own ethical approach to selling (telling the truth, offering a genuine service, and only selling what people needed) was ridiculed and quashed at every turn, by various profit-seeking organisations (and I’m glad to say, previous employers). Needless to say these businesses encouraged the promotion of the correct image to customers, depsite the reality of what their true motives may have been behind the scenes. “In business as in life…”

    And, in the hope of making my rant (that felt good to get it off my chest) relevant to my current role.. I can’t help feeling that the very sales techniques you would gladly do without were employed very successfully by the salespeople who gave us the ‘sunray’ system.

  3. Just had an email headed ‘Is your organisation ready for cloud computing?’ – shall I forward it to you then Mike :-p

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