I have little patience for the dance of the sales pitch.
Although I understand the objective of a salesperson and their role, I find the pitch process to be painful. I dread the process so much that I do my best to make it easier for the salesperson by being clear about my needs, priorities and expectations.
I do this to avoid the dance of buzz words and having to try to figure out how they actually translate into my needs. If I start hearing words like “synergy” or “collaboration,” my eyes glaze over and I daydream about weekend plans or my next vacation.
I’m not callous or unkind but if I’m putting forth the effort to have a mutually beneficial working relationship, the least a salesperson could do is meet me halfway and pay attention.
I’d like to share a few interesting and surprising observations this week from a social recruiting and networking event that I attended. Perhaps you’ll be able to relate to them from your own experiences.
Be prepared and check your facts
The event was basically a trumped-up sales pitch to a large group of recruiting professionals. I didn’t initially doubt the credibility of the product but when the salesperson used statistics and metrics that were not able to be quantified upon request, credibility declined. Any salesperson who will stand in front of 200 people and casually throw out a statistic without being prepared to defend it is risking their own professional reputation as well as that of the organization.
Know your product and maintain composure
Being a natural people observer, I get a kick out of taking in the reactions and expressions of others. A participant asked, “Why should I use your product instead of product X, which has a broader reach in social networking?” The salesperson made a few sarcastic comments about product X in a bad attempt to be funny while looking for the next raised hand. He never answered the question. The same participant pressed the salesperson further, “But why your product?” The expression on the salesperson changed, he became slightly defensive, started to waffle and quickly shifted to a broader topic while dismissing the participant.
Know your customers and be empathetic
As the event was drawing to a close and the salesperson welcomed additional questions, a participant voiced her concerns about not being able to reach a human being when she had questions on the product. The salesperson apologized and mentioned that perhaps she was not an “upgraded” client which implied that she didn’t deserve to speak to a human. She stated she was and to that he said, “I am so sorry for that, there is no excuse for that. You should call your sales rep immediately.” To which she replied, “YOU are my sales rep.”
What are your thoughts? Do these scenarios surprise you? I’d love to hear your comments, opinions and stories!