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Sales 101: Don't Let The Gizmos Bite
Potential for sales destruction
Social devices can hinder sales
Recently I witnessed yet another salesperson interrupt his presentation to grab the smartphone jangling in his belt holster. As I was the target of the sales call, I found it quite rude to essentially be put on hold while he talked with someone else. Put off by the cavalier treatment, I went back to my desk and left him yammering away in my showroom. When he returned, despite apologies for the interruption, I politely showed him the door. I have no patience with salespeople who treat me as secondary to a mobile device.
We are inundated with electronics these days. As one who got his start on a manual typewriter, I welcome labor saving miracle devices. However, as we all know, too much of a good thing is bad, especially when it comes to handling sales. Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy working on them, love writing on them. My iPhone is convenient, and so is my iPad. In fact, they are the greatest sales tools I’ve ever owned, and I’ve been through them all. However, I don’t let my devices get in the way of my life, and especially not in the way of my marketing career. Unfortunately, others do.
Heading for disaster
Periodically I ride my motorcycle to work in order to save money on gasoline. Last week, I nearly got run over by a gal, probably a saleswoman, judging from her prim and proper dress, trying to text message on a smartphone as she breezed through a red light, not paying any more attention to her two ton bomb of metallic destruction than the traffic laws. I use this as an example of what will happen during a sales call on an important client if the smartphone beeps, clicks, sings, rings, vibrates, or otherwise interrupts the sales process. The potential buyer will disconnect from the sales process just as the careless driver did when her smartphone bleeped.
Happens all the time
This wasn’t the first time I’ve seen someone blow through a red light while texting or talking, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Just because it looks cool to be plugged into a mobile device all the time is not a sufficient enough reason to chance killing a sale – or a person. Maybe it’s just me, an old fuddy-duddy, but personally, I think it looks silly to run around with a Bluetooth stuck in an ear. Important? No. Simply arrogant – that’s what this kind of cellular abuse tells me when a salesperson floats into my showroom planning to talk to me but is instead already talking to the sky. Call me what you will, but as long as you are wasting my time while using your mobile devices during your time with me when you should be discussing your reasons for holding me up from my busy day, or endangering my own business by not properly making your sales calls, I will show you the door. As a sales manager I would be mortified to find out one of my representatives ever allowed so much as a twiddle to interrupt a sales call on one of my clients by holding up a finger and saying, “I’ve got to take this.” Improper use of technology leads to disaster, perhaps even a loss of your sales position because I DON’T have to take that!
Don't let gizmos rob you of control
Sales etiquette demands total focus on the customer at hand and not the text message on the device. A salesperson’s mind should not be divided between fancy apps, tinkling reminders, or any other distraction while working with a potential buyer. It’s hard enough these days to get appointments with the right qualified person without destroying a single moment of precious sales time due to an interruption. Please understand that the same courtesy does not extend to the client. The client is god of the sales call. If he or she is interrupted, that’s fine and dandy. Text message if you must while you wait, but immediately return to your place in the sales process when the client returns. I prefer to utilize my time analyzing the sales call up to that point, preparing myself with further reasons the client should deal with me, rather than playing with my device. Checking messages can wait until I get back to my car. Remember this axiom: NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE CUSTOMER’S TIME!
I'd rather see this...
Techno-abuse be hanged!
Electronics are the labor-saving, cost-cutting tools of the present and future. However, I believe we are not only abusing them, but are abused by them. Combat techno-abuse! Don’t use the devices inappropriately! Park the car to use the phone, don’t use the self-serve checkout when you’re paying for service, forget the apps when you should be paying attention to the person next to you. In fact, don’t use any gizmo that robs you of personal control of a sales situation. You DO NOT need to answer the phone while driving or in the presence of a potential buyer – both habits lead to disaster. My point is, don’t allow gizmos to get in the way of professional selling. Overtaking the plumbing to be “high-tech cool” is just plain silly and does nothing more than create aggravation and lighten your wallet when you lose sales, not to mention bringing the consternation of your sales manager down on your yearly progress review.