Just after getting off a call with a potential client today, I happened across Seth Godin’s post about sales calls:
I wonder if the sales call has a lot of life left in it.
Before you faint, let me get my terms straight: I think a sales call is a meeting (in person or on the phone) when a salesperson endeavors to sell something to a prospect, and where the prospect is doing the salesperson some sort of service by being there.
He is absolutely right, and I am willing to take it one step further. Not only are outgoing sales calls dying, but (in our space at least) so are incoming sales calls.
What I mean by this is the old way of transferring any sales calls over to a true “Sales Guy” that can answer every question to a T and truly sell the caller on the product every time is dying quickly.
My call today was a consultancy that called me to ask about training. A genuinely interested buyer called and had his colleague on the speaker phone. They proceeded to pepper me with very common questions for businesses evaluating a potential vendor:
- Do you offer onsite training sessions?
- What are some of your larger customers? Would I have heard of any of them?
- How can I be sure you will be around in the future?
- etc. etc.
If I was a slick sales guy I would have great well-rehearsed answers to all these questions because they are very common in the software industry, but alas I am a developer/operations/business/support/integrations/sales guy and I really don’t have time to B.S. our customers. Therefore, I responded with reasonable and truthful answers, that perhaps this person did not want to hear:
- There are no onsite training sessions, just an easy to use application with good online help
- Most of our customers are small consultancies that you would not have heard of
- Our application has been live for over two years, our business has been here for over three and we are here running the business and answering the phone from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM Eastern
Most of my answers came down to the fact that we run a business focused exclusively on running and improving this application. We have designed it to be easy to use and to sell itself, so please give it a try.
I hope they do try it out and I hope they weren’t turned off by my answers, but if they were – so be it.