Selling To A Salesman

Last week, I posted an interesting and possibly somewhat controversial opinion Chris’ Post on cold calling, asking why there was not much social media presence of cold calls being recorded by some of the famous authors that write about the proper ways to make an effective cold call, how to handle objections, etc.

This post generated more publicity than I expected, which leads me to how I was disappointed in how I was approached (or should I say not approached) as being a possible prospect looking for help. I thought writing an article on how a salesman was prospected might be intriguing.

As a sales hunter, the biggest challenge I face is finding a prospect who has a need for my professional recruitment services.

Wouldn’t our lives be so much easier if all your prospects turned their radars on and you instantaneously received a signal: “BDR’s: Help me, please, I have a problem”. My LinkedIn post was not as precise as this, but if nothing else I think it could have led to more inquiries from those that specialize in helping BDR’s overcome their fear, anxiety and overall lack of motivation in cold calling as a means of prospecting new business.

Out of the +20K views received over the 1st 48 hours, I had one salesman or rather someone who is an authoritative figure in sales, prospecting, and cold calling reach out to me for an offer to help. Unfortunately, the way it was offered highlighted some concepts that I was not in favor of playing the role of a prospect and felt was slightly misaligned to what I’ve read, learned, and understood regarding how to approach a prospective customer.

To paraphrase, response #1: “Chris, call my rep (rep’s name), he can help you”.

So as a prospect, I need to reach out and call your sales rep? I thought sales reps were supposed to call me to ask investigative and intelligent questions about what I’m having problems with to determine if I might be a fit for their services. Isn’t that one of the best ways to effectively prospect customers if there’s uncertainty – find them, call them, text them, email them, direct message them, (not all at once obviously), but essentially do what it takes to let them know you have a potential answer to their pain. Show that you’re willing to take the 1st step. Albeit, I did make the post regarding what I was having a problem with, so that might have been why I received the response to make an outbound call, but in general, I’ve learned as a salesman the responsibility needs to be on us to make the 1st reach out to connect. 

For the record, I called the rep within an hour of being told to call, left a message, a week later, I’m still waiting for some type of correspondence back: a call, voice message, email, text, knock on my front door, fruit basket, etc. Why did I bother to make the call in the 1st place? I felt like I was in the twilight zone when prospects don’t call me back, now I’m not even able to have a company that specializes in the services I’m looking for help to call me? Hmm. I often hear this happening, (service providers not calling their prospective customers back) and I don’t think I’ll ever understand why.

To paraphrase, response #2: “Chris, direct message me your number, I’ll have our office call you”

OK, I did so, but was there any research done on my LinkedIn profile to determine if there’s a way to reach me by phone, either directly by having my cell number posted on my LinkedIn profile (which I do), my personal branded website having my direct number or my company website having my office number? I guess not, if the question had to be asked. OK, so that would have taken 30 seconds to look up versus 3 for me to send it directly, you’re busy, I understand…

Maybe other sales professionals who help BDR’s prospect more effectively did not see my post as a potential opportunity to help, but rather just a question or a call out to seek attention (which was some of the feedback I received). Possibly, I wasn’t a good lead based on my profile or I could possibly be on a sales rep’s radar, but so far down on their lead list that I’ll hear back 2, 3, 6 months from now. At that point, hopefully my problem will be solved.

And it looks promising thus far…

On day 2 of my post, I had one sales professional win my potential business, Austin Tenette, Certified Business Coach. What an excellent job Austin did approaching me as a prospective client (for complete transparency, Austin and I had met in person once before at a Houston networking event). Although, Austin didn’t call me, he sent me a very warm and inviting email – (paraphrased) “Hey Chris, caught your post on LinkedIn, these Sales Pros are solid, I’ve worked with some of them before, but more specifically what are you trying to accomplish? I too have trouble making outbound calls, let’s meet to discuss a plan of attack and try to hold each other accountable together.” 

What a perfectly crafted message, in my opinion, as I’m not sure what else would have gotten my attention any better (other than maybe a direct call, which I’ve learned is the most effective when everyone’s inbox is cluttered with junk).

A few positive aspects I wanted to highlight on Austin’s approach:

Followed my activity on social media (possibly looking for the ideal time to reach back out to me), although we’ve discussed getting together at some point in the future, what better time to strike?

Gave credit to the sales professionals that were part of my original post, showing similarities that both Austin and I follow, read and ultimately like the same authors.

Related to my direct needs and desires by saying we’re in this game together, so let’s discuss how we can accomplish things as a team.

So simple, yet so effective.

Coming from a non-sales profession, I’ve quickly learned and now take to heart when I hear the concept that everyone’s selling something. Whether it’s an idea, a solution, a product, a course of action, etc. and while it may not seem like an opportunity on the surface, after digging a little deeper it really can be, especially when you ask more questions.

Lastly, I thought this article was relevant as it provided me some personal insight into how a salesman posting a general inquiry on LinkedIn allowed me to understand how I would like (and not like) to be pursued as a prospective customer, which hopefully also helps tell a story in how to relate to the prospective customers we are trying to reach and help every day with our value message as Austin did with me. If only I could consistently practice what I preach…

Relate, Show Interest In A Common Theme, Determine How To Solve A Problem Together.

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