How NOT to do a sales call

Andrew Neitlich
Andrew Neitlich

I got a call today on my cell phone from a salesperson from what he described as a publicly traded search engine and optimization firm. I took it, because I need material for this blog. He obliged.

As usual, he started the call without his name, just saying, “How are you?”

So I said, “Fine, who is this?” Already I know this is an annoying sales call with somebody without a clue. Again, I need content for my blog. He continues to oblige.

He tells me what his firm does and begins reading a lengthy paragraph about his services. He tells me he got my name from my website, which happens to now be off line. Again, I let him continue, for content.

I interrupt him. “Look,” I say. “Feel free to email me about your services.”

He says, “If you just let me tell you a little more…”

I interrup and say I don’t have time and am not really interested.

He says, “Well, don’t you want more traffic to your website?”

I say, because I am annoyed, “No, not right now.”

He responds, ‘Then why are you online?”

I call him a stupid —– idiot and hang up. So he missed the chance to email me information, too.

I guess companies hire salespeople to make calls like these because it works. But I’ve never seen this cold calling approach work, and I’ve worked with lots of companies that have tried it.

A sales call can work these days, but only if:

– You start with a letter that clearly conveys your value;

– Follow up with a call that begins with a short description of how you can help them get results;

– Focus on a small list of target prospects, so you know something about them when you call and can customize your opening with valuable insights;

– Follow up for a while with valuable information to build a relationship, and be patient.

Don’t make stupid, one-shot sales calls like the poor soul transcribed above.