So, something happened to us last week in the office and in the interests of turning a negative into a positive we just had to share it with you. To be honest, it could be a sketch from the hilarious White Gold on BBC2. And no, we’re not going to name and shame!
I’d booked in a demo call after a cold call from a rather pushy, abrupt guy called John. I managed to get the jist of what he was trying to sell me from the cold call when he’d told me the name of the product, the basic premise and the price.
It was a perfectly timed call, as it was in an area that we were starting to look into as a business so after I had asked him 3 times for his business details by email (first warning sign), I booked in the demo. He hadn’t asked me anything about our business or our problems at this point.
He took me through the demo extremely quickly, peppering his commentary on various facts and figures with gems such as ‘BOOM! Knocked it out the park, didn’t I Julie?!’ and ‘SMASHED it, didn’t I Julie?!’.
I tried to concentrate on the product, but by this time I’d started to snigger a bit and put him on loudspeaker so the rest of the office could enjoy the entertainment.
He finished the demo at hyperspeed and concluded with ‘So, Julie, I think you’ll agree we’ve SMASHED it with this product – how much do you think it costs?’ Well, umm, it costs what you told me it costs on the first call. ‘Oh, well what do you think it’s worth?’ Err, what you told me on the phone..?
‘Well, it’s obviously FANTASTIC for you isn’t it, we knocked it out the park – so if I could just have your credit card details, I’ll sign you up now.’
No John, that’s not going to happen. I appreciate you taking me through the demo, but we’re just at the start of looking at these products and I need to be able to compare and contrast with others.
‘Really? I thought we’d smashed it, I don’t think you need to see any others, so if I could just have your credit card details…’
Things started to get even more entertaining at this point.
No John, I am NOT signing up today, there’s a process we need to go through of reviewing and including my boss. *Frantic whisper on the other end of the line* ‘WHAT?? She’s not the decision maker??’!
John, my boss is here and is listening and watched the demo, used to be in sales and is NOT very impressed with the way things are going. *Sound of phone being snatched from John and passed to Big Boss Bill*.
‘Hi Julie, Bill here, so you’re Scottish are you? I can do a great Scottish accent’! Proceeds to pretend to be Shrek, badly. ‘I’ve even been to a Scottish wedding and wore a kilt – and let me tell you, there’s more hair down there than a bear. So, we can discount this product to £x for you and waive the sign up fee, so can I have your credit card details?’.
By this time I’m under the desk with laughter. No Big Boss Bill, I will not give you my credit card details, and I have to say if you had come to my front door, I’d have shut it on you 5 minutes ago. We are not prepared to sign up to this product today, or at any other time now. Goodbye.
Wow – thank you for giving us an anecdote for the dinner table John and Big Boss Bill!
But what sales lessons can we learn from this?
1) If you’re going to cold call, do follow up with product details immediately so the customer can see your product and know that you are who you say you are.
2) Your price can be your lead – if you offer great value then that’s fantastic, but don’t lead with it then ask how much it costs at the end.
3) Ask questions about the customer’s requirements then tailor your presentation to highlight those solutions, don’t just blanket bomb them with info that isn’t relevant.
4) Always try to ensure you are speaking to the relevant person to present your product to, and don’t worry if there’s someone else who needs to be included before a further decision can be made. This will give you the chance to really fine tune your product to their company.
5) Don’t discount too quickly, especially if the customer hasn’t said that the cost is an issue.
6) Never ever be so over familiar with a customer that you are pretending to mimic their accent or telling them about what’s under your kilt. End of.
What sales horrors have you experienced? Please let us know if anything matches up to our hairy bear nightmare!
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Image courtesy of White Gold on BBC iplayer now.