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Can Someone Help Me Diagnose This Sales Call? I Don’t Get It.

by David Brock on May 15th, 2009
It’s 7:00am, I’m busy disposing of email and getting my day started. I’m already on my second cup of coffee, the phone rings…..

Most of my clients and colleagues know I start my day in the “office” at 5:00am, so I am anticipating it is one of them.

Dave: Hello, this is Dave Brock.
Other Party (OP): May I speak to your office manager?
Dave: Well, my name is Dave Brock, I own the company so I guess I’m the office manager, how can I help you?
OP: I’m John Doe from XYZ company and I’d like to know when your office hours start.
Dave, slightly confused: Excuse me, who are you and what are you asking?
OP: I’m John Doe from XYZ company and I’d like to know when your office hours start.
Dave, still confused: Well, since we are speaking on the phone right now, clearly they have already started.
OP (I guess I should start calling him John Doe): OK, thank you. Good bye.
Dave, very confused: Wait a minute, can I ask you why you want that information?
OP (John): Well we are an IT services company…… I wanted to see if I could set an appointment to talk to you about your IT needs…….
Dave, no longer confused but now perplexed: Well, why didn’t you ask?
OP (John): Well……… What’s your name?
Dave: That’s OK, thank you for calling, I’m not interested in your services.

I think that was supposed to be a prospecting call???? I’ve done thousands in my career and have seen lots of sales people doing them.

But I’m not really sure. John had reached me, I clearly identified myself as the person he probably wanted to talk to, but clearly he wasn’t prepared to execute his prospecting call. Why did he make the call? What was he trying to accomplish? Is he aware of the impression he made? Is he being paid to do this?

Some things I think went wrong:

1. He didn’t know anything about the company. Before I make calls, I use this new thing called Google…..(you know what I’m going to say).
2. When he reached me, he didn’t clearly introduce himself and his reason for calling.
3. I’m not clear that he had a script, but he really wanted to know when we started work. Even if that is in the script, it seems that when he heard he had the right person on the phone he might launch into the reason for calling and asked for an appointment, but I had to pull it out of him.
4. I raised an objection (Why didn’t you ask?)and didn’t even try to respond.
5. He wasn’t listening, I told him my name twice, but at the end of the call, he still was asking for my name.

Yes, I still make prospecting calls myself. I do my homework before I make the call, so I know a lot about the company, their situation, and, if possible, about the individual I call. So often, when I call, I reach voicemail–I’m prepared for handling that. Sometimes, I reach an assistant–I’m prepared for talking to assistants, and every once and a while, I actually reach the person I want to talk to—I leap on those opportunities. I want to capitalize on those few seconds I might actually be talking to a prospect, I want to use their time well, make a great impression, and make the first step in achieving my objective.

Do I have it wrong? Am I missing something? Am I being too critical.

Unfortunately, these days, I get too many calls like the one from John Doe—no wonder “cold calls” don’t work.

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  1. Dave Sohigian permalink

    Dave – you definitely did not miss anything, but the prospecting sales guy certainly did! I suppose if he was just doing some practice to warm up, it could be excused, but it sounds like he did not have a clue. Even a highly scripted sales call is more compelling than what that guy said. You should have offered your services like that scene from Boiler Room (for those with sensitive ears, you may want to avoid that clip, the movie is full of cursing).

    Dave Sohigian

  2. Dave Brock's Blog permalink

    Dave, thanks for the comment. i’d forgotten that scene, but it was great! Made me want to watch the movie again—but probably not as an example of outstanding sales practices.

    Thanks for commenting. Regards, Dave

  3. This is the best prospecting call of all time. I templatized it for our clients. Thanks for sharing!

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