The Anatomy of a Failed Sales Call

I was going to wait and write something informative and enlightening, but I took this sales call today and I couldn’t resist sharing how it went. Based on the title, I’m sure you can imagine just how it went.

Let me give some background. I’m driving home today when I get this call. Now anyone that knows me knows that I rarely answer calls on my personal cell phone from numbers that I don’t recognize, but today was the exception. I answered the call and here’s a break-down of how it went (names have been left out to protect the ignorant…err…I mean innocent):

Mr. Salesman:  Good afternoon, may I speak with Ms. Gabrielle Mederos.

Me: Nope, but you can speak with MR. Gabriel Mederos.

Mr. Salesman: I’m very sorry, I must have read the name incorrectly. Hello Mr. Mederos how are you today?

Me: Not bad, I am driving though so this may not be the best time to talk.

Mr. Salesman: Not too worry Gabriel, this will not take very long.

(Ok, big mistake number 1. I have said that I am not available to talk, telling me that it won’t take too long isn’t what I want to hear…in fact, it just irritates me)

Me: Fine, how can I help you?

Mr. Salesman: Well, I came across your name in a directory and I wanted to talk to you about some of the services my company offers.

Me: Ok.

Mr. Salesman: I just wanted to ask you a few questions before I tell you about how we can help you. Firstly, what is your current role?

Me: My current role is Manager of Public Relations.

Mr. Salesman: Great…and what is the name of your employer?

Me: Didn’t you get my name from a directory? What did it say?

Mr. Salesman: I’m sorry, I don’t have the directory in front of me to refer to what it said.

(Big mistake number 2. This individual obviously didn’t do any homework. What’s worse is that if he was able to get my name, he could have easily looked on LinkedIn to get all the details regarding my title and employment history)

Me: Well, why don’t you just tell me why you’re calling.

Mr. Salesman: My company is called ********* and we provide social media consultation services. We’re experts in social media.

(Big mistake number 3. Ok, so this one is a personal pet peeve. I find it very hard to believe that someone is a social media expert. Especially someone who feels the need to tell me they are)

Me: Oh, so you guys are social media experts?

Mr. Salesman: Absolutely, we can use social media to solve your company’s business problems.

Me: Well that’s very impressive considering you don’t know what company I work for and until a few seconds ago, you didn’t even know what my job title was.

Mr. Salesman: (clearly flustered) Well sir, the basics are all the same.

Me: That may be true, but companies are not. And I hope that the solutions to my company’s problems that you’re suggesting is not just a Facebook page and Twitter account.

Mr. Salesman: How about I set up a meeting and we can discuss how I can help you out.

Me: How about you don’t bother…I appreciate your call but I’m not interested.

Mr. Salesman: Can I at least send you an email with more details about our company?

(Big mistake 4. I clearly said that I was not interested. If you ever want to do business with me in the future, you should listen to what I’m saying and respect my decision)

Me: Again, thank you for your call but I am not interested at this time.

Mr. Salesman: Thanks (…click)

Now, I completely understand that selling is not easy. It is a difficult job, one that I openly admit, I’m not able to do very well. But it is people like the aforementioned Mr. Salesman that truly give all salespeople a bad name. If the salesman had done a bit more research and approached me differently, there’s a good chance I would have agreed to a meeting and requested more information. Let’s face it, I’m an easy sell for any good salesman.

The individual I spoke with today wasn’t this bad, but with some practice…