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Preaching To The Choir

by David Brock on September 27th, 2012

Prepare yourself for a rant, it’s been one of those mornings!  As a preface, I’m proud of being a sales professional.  I aspire to create value for my customers in every exchange.  I strive to learn and improve, despite the years of experience and greying hair.

But then I get mornings like this, I’ve been besieged by a half dozen of the most ill-conceived, poorly executed, manipulative prospecting calls one can imagine.  They make me ashamed to be a sales person. 

It started in the middle of the night.  My mobile beeped with a text.  “Dave, how r u doing?  Haven’t hrd from u for a while.”  I didn’t recognize the number, but it was from an area where I have lots of business and contacts.  I replied, “My apologies, but who are you?”  You can guess the results, a text from someone I didn’t know, trying to prospect in an inane, offensive manner.  Well that person is now blocked.

Then the prospecting emails (directly or through LinkedIn).  We are a professional services company, we consult with organizations around the world.  Visit my LinkedIn profile, by blog, my twitter profile, Facebook, or our website, it’s pretty clear.  So why am I a great prospect for:

“We’ve got deals in heavy equipment (earthmovers, dump trucks) for your business.”  How did I get on this list?

“We knew you would be interested in our new manufacturing automation software and systems to improve the efficiency of your manufacturing operations.”  (We do some consulting in this area, so I’m on some mailing list.)

I could go on.

Or the presumptive telephone calls:

“We know your people aren’t using your CRM system as effectively as they should be.  We know they aren’t doing this…..  We can help you get full value from your CRM investments.”  Well actually we use our CRM system very well.  The things we “aren’t doing” –well actually we are.

“We wanted to talk to you about the problem with your company’s credit rating and how we can help you.”  I was concerned with this one, so I engaged.  “What is our credit rating?”  The response was, “Well, it’s actually as high as it possibly could be.”  Then I said, “Well then what’s the problem with our credit rating—is it too high?  Why are you calling?”  The response, after a long pause, “Well, ……. I guess I don’t know…….. Maybe you’ll have a problem some time in the future????”

I could go on and on.

These calls are exhausting.  I dispair for our profession.  What happened to targeting, focusing on the sweet spot, what happened to research, what happened to creating value?  Rather than taking the time to do things right focusing on prospects that fit, sales people (marketing people, and so on) are content to waste thousands of hours of sales and customer time, hundreds of thousands of $’s in expenses (out of pocket and sales productivity).

Rather than really trying to engage prospects in a meaningful way, people are content in blind, mind numbing emails and calls.

I get frustrated and angry.  Don’t these people realize they are doing more to destroy business opportunities than build credibility and interest?  Don’t they know they are actually poisoning the well, making us more resistant and offended to their tactics and unwilling to buy from their companies (In every case, these came from big name companies).

I want to teach these people, I am provoked to write blogs.  I want to let them know there is a better way, what they are doing is wrong and they are making sales more difficult than it should be.

But then I realized, those sales people, their managers, possibly their companies don’t want to learn.  They are dinosaurs destined to become extinct.  They don’t read blogs, they don’t realize there are better more effective and impactful ways to prospect and develop business.  They don’t keep up to date, always improving their practice and execution.

They’ll never read my words or hear my frustration.  They will just hear the telephone click or the “sound’ of my key strokes moving their emails to the SPAM filter.  But then they won’t hear those, because they aren’t listening.

As I write this, I realize, I’m preaching to the choir.  People reading this blog are proud of who you are, how you sell, and how you engage.  You are looking to improve (hopefully I provide some ideas), and you aren’t the one’s bothering me.  If we speak, I know we have great, value based conversations, and your emails are always insightful.

I know in your sales and prospecting efforts, you are trying to do quite the opposite of what these others are doing, you are trying to create value, trying to improve everything you do.

I’m angry about the others and the impact they have on us and our profession.

Thanks for letting me vent.


  1. I couldn’t agree more – exactly those calls are the reason why I’m so passionate about sales enablement.

  2. I often start my training workshops for sales leaders or sale people with the question “Those liking sales people ,please raise your hand”. The reaction is always the same, Very few hands go up. We all have these bad experience with the type of sales people you describe. These people poison the image of Sales and make it harder than necessary for those who want to learn.
    That these sales persons, committing this malpractice, do not want to listen is one thing. Worse is the fact that their leadership does not want to listen either. One would expect that they at least should be able to reason in dollars and cents and stop such money wasting behavior which furthermore damages the perceived image of their companies. Most frustrating is however that they tarnish the image of Sales as an occupation.

    • Thanks for the great comment Christian. I like to think that most sales people try very hard to be professional and create great impressions. But too often, I see these foolish activities. Most often, they are just sales people following the directions of foolish managers.

  3. Randy permalink

    Preach! I hear you. The people that need to hear this aren’t reading it. I can’t, for the life of me, figure out WHY there are companies out there letting their sales people “sell” like this. As you’ve talked about before, the companies and their management are equally (or possibly more) to blame as those doing the sales. Using poor- or nonexistent- sales methodologies would be a lot like beating your head against a brick wall. You’d think it’d start to hurt. At least a little. Maybe the fact that they keep using them says something about the thickness of their skulls?

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