Read the following “Real Life” exchange between me and a “suspect”. First, pretend that you are my sales coach. What would you advise me to do next? Second, pretend that you are my suspect’s coach. What’s his problem? (You may want to look here: http://www.objectivemanagement.com/References/index.htm).
Here’s the exchange:
Me (email 1/18 5:59 AM) I was talking with (a client of mine), yesterday, about our CEO Luncheon. He suggested that if there is still room, that he’d like to have you attend as his guest. There is, but we have to give our final count to the White Cliffs on Friday. So, please, check your schedule and R.S.V.P. today.
Him (email 1/18 2:32 PM) Thank you for the invitation – I will be in attendance.
He and I spoke after the Luncheon and scheduled a call for 1/31 @ 2 PM. He wasn’t there when called. I left my number, but he didn’t call back.
Me (email 2/2 8:41 AM) Thank you for attending our Executive Luncheon on January 24th. We’ve talked with almost everyone that requested a call already. You requested a call, scheduled a call, then neither took nor returned my call. My wife and I are going on a cruise tomorrow. So, my plan would normally be to follow up with you when I return. If you’d prefer not to talk to me, please take a moment to reply as such and if you’re so inclined, give me some feedback.
Him (email 32 minutes later) I do not know you or your style but I sense tone in your email. I did not take your call because I was pulled to a meeting and not available that afternoon. I have not returned your call simply because I have not yet made it to my non-client related returned calls. I have no issue with speaking to you especially since I took the time to attend the seminar. Thanks.
Me (email 2/11 8:04 PM) I’m back and well rested. I have my annual physical Monday morning at 8:30. I should be in the office by 10. I expect to be in “response mode” for the first half of the week. Please feel free to call me at 508.389.9350 x223 at your convenience.
Him (email 2/12 9:13 AM) I am just back as well and will contact you by midweek. Thanks.
Him (email 2/20 1:47 PM) I still owe you a call – I will make that happen. Thanks.
Me (email 39 minutes later) I’m not around today, but should be tomorrow.
Him (email 20 minutes later) Ok,Thanks.
I don’t know why, but I called him Friday, the 23rd. He answered and he agreed to call me at 1 PM today. At 12:59, today, I received this email: I am on a conference call that is going long – I could be 30-40 more minutes. I will call you at home when it is over. Thanks.
He called at 1:47 and left this voice message, “Hey, Rick, ________ calling about 10 minutes of 2. I’m here in the office (phone #). I’m here alone, so if you call back and I happen to be on a call, you might get my voicemail. So, I will call you back and hopefully we won’t play too much phone tag here. (Phone # again.)
12 thoughts on “YOU BE THE COACH!”
That’s frustrating! It’s definitely a struggle I can relate to – getting someone to make the time for your call. What’s even more worrisome is that if they can’t set aside the time for the call, how focused will they be when it’s time to launch a project with you? It’s at this point that I would try to address availability. I would say something along the lines of “I really think I can help you and your business [insert a brief example], but in order for you to see the greatest benefit from my work, could you set aside a dedicated block of time for us to chat? I know you are busy and I place a high value on time myself, so I will do my best to work around your schedule.”
Dan, your first question is exactly on target. He is the problem. His word means nothing. Pretend I did decide to do business with him. Would he provide required info in a timely manner? Would he make slow decisions that delayed progress? Would he blame missed deadlines on everyone but himself? Would he pay your invoices on time, late, or would he need to be sued?Bad prospects become bad customers. Why start?
This is the classic case of good intentions (GI). My experience with GI Joes is that they think if they write out a check they did what they needed to. Then, when things remain unsolved they’ll point to the money they paid and complain that they didn’t receive any value! Proceed with caution!!
If I proceed at all. One more comment, then I’ll re-post.
Making excuses. Obviously, in this person’s head, talking to “a customer” or “prospect” is more important than talking to someone that is “selling something”. The sad part for him is that he is probably killing himself to grow his business by letting prospects treat him as if “his time” wasn’t important too. And he probably says, “how high?” when they ask him to jump. I think I know who you are talking about, as I’ve had a similar experience with a mutual prospect. He’s got one more chance. Then, he’s off the list. Which is a shame. For him, atleast. Oh well. Can’t help everyone.
Pete,Actually, I doubt that you know this one. (I know you know a lot of people, but not everybody. Do you?)Nonetheless, your comments are right on and show how much you’ve grown. It’s not unusual for someone who “needs” the business to allow their prospects to treat them like garbage. Then, when they’re the prospect, they figure that they’ll get even.The interesting thing with this guy is that I’ve never had a conversation with him. He came to our luncheon and asked me to call.I wonder why?
I don’t know everyone, of course. I didn’t mean it to come off that way. I have had a prospect or two treat me like this recently, though. Glad I have the right attitude about it now…. thanks to yours and Dave’s tutelage.
Come on, Pete! You don’t recognize a tease? I know that you don’t know everybody, but I can’t think of many who know more. I forget. What was your score on the second weakness?
Looking at my own buying behavior… I make quick decisions but sometimes take a long time before I actually pull the trigger. The first time I met Rick I wanted to enter sales training, but it took me 3 months to figure out I needed it. I can see moving on if someone flat out avoids you and doesn’t call you back. I am confused as to why the prospect still seems to be somewhat interested. Why would he still attempt to reach you? How do you tell him that you’re moving on? Dale
How much time have you wasted trying to contact him or replying to his stalling behavior that you could be using to woo other clients?In the funeral industry, I refer to this as “chasing the wrong family.” Meaning, every wrong (not right for you, out of your market, folks inclined to go somewhere else) family, you not only waste your time, but you take time away from a family that really needs your help.I often remind funeral directors that a hard sell (required to cajole “wrong” clients into using you) usually results in a hard funeral. When that time is instead focused on a family that fits the funeral home, impressive things can happen: word of mouth referrals, return customers (hard to think about in the funeral industry, but families usually experience deaths on a 5-10 year cycle) and “good buzz.”
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