WHAT? No more sales calls?

Yesterday, while I was facilitating my Applications Session, Cindy asked whether I thought it appropriate to make cold calls via email. I asked several questions before she admitted that although it was great to use email to get re-orders, exchange documents, approve proofs, after a customer was in the fold, nothing was going to happen until they met face to face.

Then I check out Dave Kurlan and he’s talking about Seth Godin and “the death of the sales call”. So I go read Seth’s post and decide that Seth might be the kind of guy that disqualifies himself right out of doing business with me. Then I read his post about Jet Blue and I ask myself, I wonder if this guy’s reading his own blog.

If you haven’t read them, go read them or you won’t get this part. On one hand, Seth is saying that buyers are much too busy and that we as salespeople should just answer the prospect’s questions, take their money, deliver our product or service and wait for the problems or repeat sales. On the other hand, Seth is saying that bad customers should be fired. (I agree with that.) However, that bad customer probably affected the satisfaction of at least his nearest neighbors. (I’m reminded of the last time that I flew Northwest, several years ago. I wrote the CEO and Chairman of Northwest and they said, “Too bad. We’re not responsible for the behavior of our passengers.” The hell they aren’t. It was the last time I flew Northwest. Northwest sucks and if you want a copy of the complaint letter, let me know. They suck.”) Sorry, I digress, but it proves the point. Northwest lost me for life. If they are the only way to fly somewhere, I’ll walk or not go. Now, if you lose a customer because you screwed up, shame on you, but if you lose a customer because another customer drove them away, you should be upset with that customer, but you should also be upset with yourself for letting them in. So, Seth, have you read Dave Kurlan’s book Baseline Selling? Did you read the part about the customer being qualified to do business with you in every way? How am I supposed to figure out if they’re qualified if we don’t have a conversation? How am I supposed to find out if this one idiot is gonna cost me 12 customers for life? Money isn’t the only qualification. What if they’re dumb enough to buy a square peg for their round hole?

I for one don’t want to be the one that’s dumb enough to sell them.

3 thoughts on “WHAT? No more sales calls?

  1. Thanks for reading, but I’m afraid I wasn’t totally clear. I was trying to make the point that the word “sales” in sales call is pretty self-centric, and that in many categories, people are too busy to indulge you. They need to feel like it’s a “buy” call. Great salespeople already do this. I was just trying to help people think their way through it. At least we’ve got em started!

  2. At least Seth has us talking about the right stuff. I liked your analogy about the prospect who wants to purchase a square peg for a round hole. The lousy salesperson competes on price for the right to sell the peg and then loses the business for selling the wrong solution. The good salesperson asks, “why in the world do you want a square peg?” Then he asks, “why are you still plugging round holes? That’s so 20th century. Most of my customers have learned that joints are better than holes, require less plugging, and the cost of plugging joints is significantly lower. Should we be talking about that instead? Keep it up Rick and Seth!

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