Sales and Sales Management Blog

August 12, 2008

Two Recent Encounters—Anomalies?


Do prospects OWE you their time and attention? Of course, for many of us that seems like a silly question. But for some salespeople it’s not only a legitimate question, its one that they believe the answer to is ‘yes.’

I’ve met two salespeople over the past 90 days or so that make me wonder if the world isn’t going off the deep end faster than I once thought.

As prospects-in both of these cases we’re talking about business prospects-become harder to reach, insulating themselves more deeply from salespeople’s attempts to connect with them, some salespeople appear to be adopting a slash and burn mentality, trying to force prospects to pay attention to them.

One salesperson who specializes in cold calling told me that when he encounters a prospect who won’t return his call or whose assistant won’t pass him through to the decision maker, he informs them that if they want him or his company to ever purchase their products or services, the decision maker will take his call. He says he is very upfront about the fact that the decision maker-because the decision maker sells a product or service–owes him the time and courtesy of taking his call and if they won’t, he’ll not only not buy from them but do everything he can to keep others from buying from them also.

Another says he has let a number of decision makers from companies who have sent him direct mail know that they are obligated to hear him out because they approached him first with their marketing pieces. Since they sent him their material, they expect him to read their material; consequently, he expects them to listen to him in return.

Neither of these men are sales neophytes. One owns a company that specializes in setting appointments for their sales clients; the other owns a financial services company.

In almost 30 years of being in sales I don’t recall ever encountering such self-centered, irrational behavior regarding connecting with prospects. I’ve known salespeople who may have thought this in the past, but I cannot recall ever meeting salespeople who would confront a prospect directly in this manner. Are these two an anomaly or have we come to the point in the breakdown of social interaction where slash and burn tactics are becoming acceptable?

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1 Comment »

  1. Paul,

    Strange how some people choose to differentiate themselves in this direction. I agree with you. The behavior is outrageous. Especially that the first person will “do everything he can to keep others from buying from them also.”

    Both sales people (we can’t call them sales professionals, can we?) are delegating the responsibility of getting their prospects interested to the prospects themselves.

    Antagonistic, confrontational, aggressive, arrogant. What else needs to be said?

    Comment by Dave Stein — August 12, 2008 @ 8:03 am | Reply


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