“I Want To Follow-Up Our Earlier Conversations…..”
I feel obligated to put a disclaimor on my behavior at the beginning of this post. I sincerely try to be a good prospect when being prospected. It’s very difficult to prospect, I know, I’ve made thousands of prospecting calls over my career. As a sales professional, I have empathy for other sales people prospecting. Generally, I’ll answer a phone call, if I’m in and available. Generally, I will listen to someone and give them a chance.
So I do everything I can to be a good, well behaved prospect.
But in spite of that, it’s hard not to be tough on sales people when they do things that are incredibly stupid.
Today’s stupid(est) call (unfortunately, I get multiple stupid prospecting calls).
The phone rings, I pick up in my normal fashion, “Hi, this is Dave Brock, how can I help you?”
A cheery voice on the other end says, “Oh, you’re just the person I wanted to speak to, how are you today?”
Me, warily, “Fine, how can I help you?”
The cheery voice, “I’m So and So of this Company. I wanted to follow up on our conversation a few months ago about your accounting services.”
Me, “I don’t recall ever speaking to you before…….When was the conversation?”
You can already see where this is going. But it’s the truth, I didn’t recall, but I keep a record of incoming/outgoing calls (Isn’t CRM wonderful?)
The slightly less cheery voice, “It was a few months ago, ….. actually these are notes from a colleague…..”
Me, “What was the name of your colleague? I’m sure I have that in my records, I’d like to refresh my memory on the call.”
OK, I know I’m starting to be a jerk. You and I both know there was never a previous call.
It’s one of those manipulative prospecting tricks sales people try, hoping people are stupid enough not to realize there has never been a conversation. It rarely works, but, a definitely uncheery voice continued, “Well, I’m really sorry, I don’t seem to have that information in my notes……”
At this point she just wanted to get out of the call, but I kept going (OK, now I’m being a little sadistic, but I needed a little comic relief in the day.)
“Well, since it appears we haven’t spoken, what was it we would have talked about a few months ago if we had spoken?”
The less cheery voice, “Well, I’d love to talk to you about how we can take all of your accounting off your hands and do a great job in managing your company’s books……”
Me, “Well, if someone from your office had called me before, they would have known to put me on your do not call list. I would have said the same thing then as I’m saying now. I’m absolutely delighted with my current accounting firm. They’ve been supporting our company for about 20 years and do a fantastic job!”
Me, rubbing it in, “I’m really surprised that’s not in your notes. It’s a shame for you to waste your time, not to mention mine, calling when you know I’m not a prospect.”
Me, going for the kill shot, “How else can I help you?”
I think I heard a meek, “Thanks, g’bye,” but she was hanging the phone up pretty quickly.
OK, I was a jerk, I admit it. Perhaps I needed to let off a little steam. But if she hadn’t started the call with a lie, if she had been straightforward, the call may have gone a completely different direction.
If she had started saying something like this at the outset, “Dave, we’ve never spoken before, but I know that people like you are very busy running business. The last thing you want to worry about is the boring task of accounting……” While I would have still told her how pleased I am with my accountants, it would have been a much more pleasant call. Also, I may have given her the name of a friend who was whining about his accountants this past weekend.
Oh well! Back to work. Note to self, look at the caller ID next call…….
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