Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Object, Your Honor.

Young people getting into sales are still trained to hammer people who tell them they are not interested. Didn't that ethos disappear shortly after the atmosphere was forming and the Earth cooled?

It didn't. And, as companies get more desperate with slumping sales, many are telling their salesforce "not to take no for an answer". It's pathetic.

I have recently been VERY near three Fortune 500 companies who still teach this. Just three days ago, I had an experience with a mobile phone carrier who still thinks this constitutes clever tactics. (I won't say their name but it rhymes with ""Flint Bextel").

They don't call it "hammering", of course. It's called "overcoming objections". Many mentors/trainers still ascribe to the "you must hear five(5) no's" before you should stop. I'm not kidding. So why is it, exactly, the average consumer/buyer loathes salespeople?

By all means, if you're working with a customer who you know and have at least a business relationship with, probe aplenty. You've earned that right. They're so busy, half the time you know more about their needs than they do. But even if they adore you, customers often will reflexively say "no" before they even understand what they are saying 'no' to.

If you are talking to strangers..prospecting, it's different.

If you're forced to make cold-call telemarketing calls, don't do this. Not only will you fail miserably, you'll feel pretty lousy about yourself and what you do for a living. Cold calling can actually work...if you've got some SERIOUS phone skills and the people on the other line are in the market (or will be soon).

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lessons From Boston-area Blizzards

"All non-essential State Employees STAY HOME"

A buddy of mine and I, whose worldview is consistent with my own, marvel at that line. It is uttered over the airwaves here in New England every year when we get really pounded with snow.

" name is Gary Dornhopper, I work for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, my check clears every two weeks though I get called MANY names...including NON-ESSENTIAL".

There's a joke here, obviously...but is there?

Switch over to the private sector of the economy for a moment. Are you considered an "Essential Employee"? Probably not. Unless you are REALLY, REALLY GOOD at making the stuff, supporting the stuff or selling the stuff, you might want to wait on that little cottage you were thinking of buying up in Maine. (Oh, aside from the above mentioned, make sure you know the rules of "the game" and play them until your nose is the color of a UPS Truck).

This sounds like a complaint. It's not. It's reality and, quite frankly, it's probably what's best for most companies. I've worked at companies of all sizes and most people spend most of their days/daze not working!

If you're not very good at your job OR you can't stomach "the game", not to worry.

You're almost certainly pretty damn good at something in which others will be willing to pay you to do it. It may mean working for another employer or working for yourself. Yes, you're going to have to put the cottage in Maine on hold for awhile and possibly settle for a reasonably comfortable off-site tree fort but, hey, times are a changin'.