An interesting topic surfaced on Facebook today, which I then turned into a LinkedIn discussion. At issue was whether or not business people should get back to people with a yes or no answer, but not ignore the contact altogether. A number of folks chimed in with their thoughts about why a “good business person” who knows how to “build relationships” would always respond. Of course, I don’t agree given that I’m on the receiving end of some of the dumbest sales pitches and requests for my time ever. Usually, it is about what they want – their agenda. They aren’t thinking about me and my needs.
As it turns out, the original post was suggesting that someone who’d connected with you and asked that you follow up with them, but never responded again was at the heart of the dialog. But it also got me thinking about how many times I’ve heard sales people complain that they don’t receive call backs or responses to their emails.
Here are 5 reasons why ignore or delete may be the first thing someone does when they receive your message.
- Your message has no compelling value for the person that you are calling. I am sooo tired of the rambling speeches about how your product is the best; you can save me money, yada yada yada. I don’t care about your canned sales pitch.What’s in it for Barb and her business? Do you really know enough about my business to be able to catch my attention? Most of the time, you haven’t taken the time, so the answer is no.
- We can’t understand a word you have said in your voicemail. At this point in someone’s business life, it should be obvious that your ability to speak clearly and articulately is critical if you expect anyone to respond to your message. If you have an accent, then you will need to work even harder to ensure that you speak slowly and clearly enough for someone to understand you. Remember that the communication success largely depends on how you present yourself.
- Lack of information. I received a call yesterday from Shawn. I have no idea who Shawn is but all she said is…”Barbara, this is Shawn. Call me at XYZ number.” Seriously, no last name, no company name, no message about why I would actually pick up the phone and call you back? If it is important that someone get back to you – tell them why doing so holds value for them. If you happen to get someone on the phone…same holds true. Identify yourself clearly by giving your first name, last name, company name and why you are calling. I don’t have the time to waste dragging the information out of you.
- We have no relationship. I prefer to work with people that I know, or people that I’ve been introduced to by colleagues. I have zero patience with the standard, boring, uncreative cold call tactics most sales people insist on using. I’m willing to listen IF you give me a good reason to do so. If your first email communication is a sales pitch and I don’t know you, the chances are high that I will merely hit delete. Though occasionally you might get lucky. Last week, I received an email from someone I didn’t know but they said something intriguing about lead gen and how their products helped you mine LinkedIn information. That got me curious. I’ve set up the demo.
- You sell competing products/services to mine. Forgive me if I rant for a second here, but geez, do your homework. One memorable cold call was the gal who sold behavior assessments (I do too!) who said that she realized I sold competing products and then proceeded to leave me a lengthy – something like 8.5 minutes – message about why her assessment was better. Now, it isn’t that I wouldn’t be inclined to consider adding another product to our offering, but after that message…forget it. I refer you back to point #1.
Here’s the deal. Everyone is busy. Just because you have something to sell doesn’t mean that we want or need it. Remember that successful selling isn’t about you and your agenda. You have to expertly communicate the value you bring to the business relationship and and the results you deliver. Otherwise, you are just wasting everyone’s time.