First point to make is that this is in the context of b2b sales.
I’m disheartened by the amount of posts recently by people either complaining about sales calls or explaining why they don’t take ANY sales calls, so thought I’d write a short blog on this to perhaps offer a different perspective.
In the b2b sector most businesses of any size will have some form of sales function and in smaller businesses or startups it will be part of someone else’s job to ‘do sales’. My point is that nearly every commercial business needs sales people. Hence, many people who refuse to take sales calls or don’t respond to an approach by a sales person are themselves reliant on the sales people in their company bringing in new customers and new work to keep the business growing and create opportunity for its employees. Isn’t this just a bit hypocritical – at least at an organisational level? It’s ok for our salespeople to make calls and approaches but we don’t want anybody calling us!
Now I understand why you would ignore rubbish email approaches or completely inappropriate sales calls where clearly no research has been done. This is not professional selling and indeed does harm to the profession of selling – this type of ‘selling’ is just lazy, uneducated, volume-based crap.
On the other hand if a sales professional makes some form of approach to you (a call, an email or a letter) and it is clearly well targeted, they have done their homework, they have articulated the potential value to you (better service, save money, make money, solve a problem you may have, etc) – doesn’t that at least warrant some form of response? Even if it’s just to say ‘no thanks’, at least you are extending the sales person the professional courtesy of a response. To not respond – even if the approach is unsolicited – is just plain rude.
I read one thread on LinkedIn the other day where the person was complaining that a salesperson had called three times in a week. The author’s point was that if after a couple of calls the sales person had not had a response they should recognise that he is not interested. Wouldn’t it have just been easier for him to take the call and, if appropriate, say ‘no thanks’ rather than get on LinkedIn and write a post bitching about it!
If you do take the call or read the email you might just find that there is value in it. Please, give the genuine sales professionals out there a chance, they are doing an incredibly difficult job and deserve a level of professional courtesy.