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How to Make It Past the Front Desk - Tips for Sales People Visiting Offices
It's Dirty Work, But Somebody's Got to Do It
Ah, sales people. To some of you, that sends a chill down your spine. To others, it is just a way to make a living. Whether you are the person that must deal with sales people, or you actually are a sales person, we all know the deal. A person knocks on your door, sends you random emails, or calls you and tries to sell something. That is annoying enough, but if you work at an office, sales people often like to "drop by" to sell a product or offer a service. 9 times out of 10, it is a nuisance for everyone involved.
My co-workers and I were discussing today some of the many sales people that walk through our door. Usually, they walk through the door and then we march them right back out. Every now and then, we might be feeling generous and take their brochure. Sometimes, they may even get to meet the actual person who could hire them or buy from them. Those folks are few and far between though. So you may ask: why do some get past the front desk, yet others don't? Well, my friend, I will share with you some tips. If you are a sales person, you can give some of these ideas a try to see how it works out for you.
Books to Help You
Know a Name
My co-worker and I are kind of like "the gatekeepers" at the front of our office. We are actually not receptionists; we are not lucky enough to have one of those. Instead, we are the two unfortunate souls stuck sitting in the front of the office. So this means, we are like powerful little front office dictators when sales people visit us. If you are a sales person, always try to impress the person at the front desk. The first thing that impresses us: know whose name to mention when walking through the door.
If you walk through the door and ask to speak to our IT Manager, yet you don't know his name, we know you do not have an appointment. If you are going to show up unannounced, yet not bother to even google us online to find out the name of our IT Manager, you are going to be out the door in about 1 minute. Even if you don't have an appointment, act with some confidence when mentioning the manager's name and you might be able to fake your way into the office.
Personality and Appearance Go a Long Way
OK, so you are a sales person and maybe it is not your dream job. Maybe you are fresh out of college and this was all you could get. Perhaps you got laid off and now you are stuck at this crummy sales position. Sure, I feel your pain. However, that does not give you any reason to mope into the office and not give it your best shot.
When approaching anyone at the front desk SMILE. Pretend you are happy to be there. Make a little small talk. Don't be too cocky though; we can smell the fakeness on you from a mile away. Also, catch a vibe from the people at the front desk when you walk through the door. Are they happy? Do they look busy? Many people stuck at the front desk in a number of offices now are doing about 5 jobs at once. If the front desk folks look tired, frustrated, angry, etc., this is probably not going to be your day. Don't come off too strong and just leave your card if they seem somewhat receptive. If you are too pushy, we will call security on you. If it has been a really bad day, it actually brings us a lot of joy doing just that.
Now, here is a moment when I am going to sound shallow. Unfortunately, appearance does count. If you come in dressed nicely and looking professional, it is going to help you. I have a confession - I do enjoy it when a really hot guy walks through the door, too. Is it wrong to say that? Yes. Am I being 100% honest with you right now? Yes. My job is not the most exciting one in the world, so it helps when some cute guy comes in and makes my day less mundane. So look your best. You don't have to be the best looking person on the planet, but at least look as nice as possible when you are going door to door trying to sell anything.
Did Someone Say Chocolate?
My co-worker and I totally agree if you bring us food, we are more than happy to welcome you through the door. You can even have an annoying personality, but we are still not going to call security and turn you in. If you work for a catering company and you want to work with our company, bring in samples of your food. Chances are, we will call our person that handles the catering and bring her up on the spot. Even if she is not available, we are happy to be amateur food critics and let you know how the food tastes. We are totally delighted to put in a good word for you with anyone you'd like. We just really like food!
Even if you are not with a catering company, food still works. Bring us some chocolates or some cookies. Earn some brownie points with us by bringing in brownies. Trust me, we are much more likely to pass your information on to the person in the right department. Keep bringing us food and we'll keep helping you out. Seriously, we work at the front desk. We totally accept bribes.
If All Else Fails, Sympathy Works
Every now and then, I will admit, I have a soft spot for a sales person that is just hopeless. I know it is a bad economy, and he or she has been going around all day trying to find business. I understand it must be awful. If you don't have a lot of charisma and you're painfully shy, I might feel bad for you. It doesn't happen a whole lot. After all, our building actually has a no soliciting policy, so I get frustrated when I am busy and interrupted by a sales person. However, if you are hunched over and scared of me, I might pity you. I certainly won't call security on you.
I once felt sorry for a very pregnant and tired sales woman. I took all her brochures and put in a good word for her. I figured she really needed the business if she was still going door to door at offices when she looked to be around 9 months pregnant. Of course, do I know that for certain? No. For all I know, she'd stuffed a pillow up her shirt and she was using the whole pregnancy look just to get our attention. Whatever! It worked.
I am not saying fake a pregnancy, but I am saying do what you have to do. Try a few techniques and see what works. Don't walk in with an overly cocky attitude or you will be meeting one of our lovely security guards in no time. Also, do a little research on our company and throw out a few names, and that will at least keep you in the lobby longer than someone walking in unprepared. Even if this isn't your first choice in jobs, keep in mind, most of the people sitting at the front desks aren't loving life either. Not too many people are working at the job they really want right now, so make the most of what you have and good luck!
Copyright ©2011 Jeannieinabottle