I’m noticing more and more sales reps calling or sending emails to do nothing more than introduce themselves to prospects or clients and let the prospect know they are there to help answer any questions if they have any. I’m having a really hard time understanding why these people are in Sales and get paid to do what they do. If this was a customer service call to an existing client I still think it’s a wasted call but at least I understand. If you get paid commissions then this approach is worthless and a complete waste of time for everyone involved.
I got a call recently that highlights this and shows what a waste of time and opportunity this approach really is. About a year ago I signed up to get some Tony Robbins CDs for a friend of mine who was going through a rough time and I thought could use a little motivation. I filled out the information with her name, address and e-mail but apparently I included my cell phone number for some reason. I got a few calls immediately afterwards to try and upsell me on a few things but I always told the person calling that I bought it for my friend and I wasn’t personally interested even though I’m a fan of Tony and his work. They eventually stopped calling and left me alone until just the other day when I got a call on my cell phone from a random number that I decided to pick up for some reason.
When I picked up the phone the sales rep on the other end said “Hi John, this is (name) from Tony Robbins, how are you?” If you’ve read my previous blogs or have been through my training before you know how much I dislike the “how are you today” intro but I let it go and told him I was doing fine. He then proceeded with “I’d like to introduce myself to you and let you know that I am here to answer any question you have about the program.” I know his goal was to engage in a conversation with me but was there a question in there? Nope. So my answer was “ok.” It got worse. He then told me he wanted to send me some further information about some programs they had available and wanted to confirm my e-mail address as “c..a…r…e..n…@xxxmail.com.” It’s obvious that isn’t my e-mail address and once again, he didn’t actually ask me a question so I didn’t say anything. He finally asked me if that was correct and I said “no.” He then asked to see if I would give him my address but he asked it as a close ended question like this “would you be interested in giving me your e-mail address so I can send you the information?” Another fail on his part. Never ask close ended questions while trying to get information from someone. At this point I just wanted to see how bad this was going to get so I answered his close ended question with a close ended answer “no.” There was some awkward silence. Then he tried one more time to engage but failed again. He said “I also wanted to let you know that we have a seminar coming up in your area in January.” Again, no question so I actually didn’t say anything again. After some more awkward silence he thanked me for my time and got off the phone.
It was one of the most pathetic cold calls I’ve gotten in a long time but it’s one that I know happens all the time these days. This kid missed out on multiple opportunities to engage with me and get information from me that might have turned into something for him. As I said, I’m actually a fan of Tony Robbins and I bought his CDs for a friend of mine. He could have asked me any number of questions about what I liked about Tony, why I bought it for my friend, if I knew anyone else who might be interested, etc. I would have been more than happy to engage in a conversation with him if he had done anything other than introduce himself to me and ask close ended questions.
As a take away from this, if you’re calling to introduce yourself to people, stop it. Make sure you have a better reason than that to call. Also, make sure you ask open ended questions when trying to qualify or engage people in conversation. The only people in the world who answer close ended questions with open ended answers are sales reps. The rest of the population will answer close ended questions with close ended answers. And Tony, if you’re out there, give me a call, I think your reps need some training. Good luck and happy selling.