Mid December 2016. Christmas is around the corner. Everyone feels more like helping others. I always feel that way but indeed, this time of the year that feeling grows even bigger.
Evening. Checking my LinkedIn feed seeking for interesting articles to read when I saw it. A post on a Sales Hacking group wall from (let’s call him) “John”. Sales Director at company “X” looking for volunteers to give feedback on a new way of delivering classroom style sales training. “Feedback”, I love it. Someone asking for feedback to continue to build their product based on the insights learned. Innovation. That’s cool. This was the message:
I want to help. Count me in! So, I just added my comment and waited to be contacted by John.
The first couple of emails were good, just thanking me for volunteering and trying to find a slot in our calendars to have a chat. We agreed on a date and time. He sent me an invite accompanied with a good email:
Cool. So, there will be him and his colleague in the call. Sounds good to me.As I was busy, I didn’t get inside the invite to see the agenda in the description. I just accepted it and continued working.
Tuesday came and about an hour before our meeting, I received an email from John just asking if I was still available for that call with him and his colleague. That was a good meeting confirmation email. I liked it. Before replying I went into the invite and that was the moment when I read the agenda:
As someone that has been in sales for more than 16 years, the words “Why ‘Name of their product’” and “Demo/Trial kickoff if needed” created a sales-pitch alert in my brain. I wanted to make sure the purpose of the call was still the same; giving feedback about an automated way of delivering and reinforcing training. I replied John with the following email:
Clear right? So, he got back to me with the following answer:
Basically, saying that nothing changed and besides my clear message to him, the call was still worth to have. I replied “Cool, let’s have the call then, looking forward to it”.
- I get on the call, John isn’t there. John II is the only one there.
- The guy starts asking me questions about how we deliver training currently. Ok, part of the agenda.
- He starts using Sandler Sales methodology with me. I know Sandler. I’ve been trained in Sandler. Many times. I know the questions. I know how it works and yes, as I was afraid, this was already a sales call.
- I tell him right from the beginning what I said to John. He just keeps going.
- With Sandler, budget is something you should check earlier in the process. If there is no budget, it isn’t the time to talk. It is better to give little info and follow up when budget will be released. So, I made clear to him that there was no budget.
- He keeps doing the sales pitch.
- He skipped some important questions, not that I want him to ask them, but I see he isn’t good enough as a sales rep.
- He doesn’t mention anything about their new way of delivering sales training. It is just the same thing, a tool like many others, no innovation, not interesting, not complete, not well designed, no analytics, nothing. It looked outdated.
- I gave him many hints already, we are wasting our time. He keeps trying to sell.
- Ending the call, I make clear I am not going to buy (how many times do I need to say this?) he insists in following up with an email with information, etc.
- He says he is going to send the email right after the call.
- I agree. I say I will keep that email and the info. Should the situation change in the future, I will let him know.
- We hang up. 30 minutes.
- He doesn’t send the email. He never followed up. Not that I wanted him to, but if we agree to something and you insist that much, just make sure you send the “bad word avoided” email.
- John wasted time setting up the call.
- John II wasted 30 mins of his time on a call.
- John II was probably frustrated after our call.
- John was probably frustrated with John II because he couldn’t make the deal.
- Couple of months after John doesn’t work there anymore. He has a new job.
My customer experience
- I wasted time setting up the call.
- I wasted 30 minutes of my time on a call.
- I was frustrated after the call:
– I wanted to help a company with a product, I couldn’t.
– I made clear I didn’t want a sales call, it was a sales call.
– The guy I was going to have the call with didn’t show up.
– They lied to me. Several times.
– They try to sell to me. Too many times.
– Their product wasn’t good. I was disappointed.
– They guy wasn’t good enough in sales.
– They guy insisted on and promised a follow up. He doesn’t follow up.
- I removed John from my LinkedIn connections. I did connect with him when we started talking about giving feedback..
- I don’t want to hear about that company again.
- I don’t want to hear about John again.
- I checked his profile before writing this article. He invited me to connect again. I didn’t accept.
- I am writing this article, not putting real names but I could’ve done it to help other people not getting on a trap if this guy uses the same approach again. I wouldn’t be surprised if he did.
Unfortunately, having this kind of people working in sales is the main reason why many still think about sales professionals as aggressive, not talented and not professional people.
Today, when everyone is talking about how AI and robots are revolutionizing sales processes and will take over sales jobs in the near future; I am totally convinced it will be sales “un-professionals” like these who will be totally replaceable by a machine.
I hope that’s the case so luckily customers won’t need to deal with them anymore in the future and can have a better customer experience.
What do you think about this? Did I interpreted this wrong? Did you have similar experiences? it would be great to hear from you.