Monday, March 26, 2012

On Not Throwing Temper Tantrums

Today marks the end of an appalling, trivial and in the end positive experience for both myself and one of my customers. About two weeks ago I sold a copier to a local bank who after reviewing our price for said copier and finding our pricing and service plan being superior to their current vendors options, chose to do business with us versus their current (now former) vendor.

About a week after the installation of our machine and the removal of the competitors machine from our customers location, I received a phone call from my contact from this bank.

They told me they had just received a phone call from their now former copier vendor...

I sat dumfounded, jaw having hit the floor while listening to the tale of our competitors rant.

My customer explained to me how this gentleman angrily and sarcastically reprimanded my customer for choosing us over them saying something to the effect of "Who do you think you are? You buy your copiers from us! We are taking that machine out of your building!"

Of course this was an empty threat and they had no ability to remove the machine themselves.

As it turned it out, I had (unknowingly) sold a machine in another vendors territory and they could not compete with our price. So, the gentleman from this other vendor thought it would be wise to call and then yell at his (former)/my (current) customer...

While we did eventually remove the machine, it was replaced by a different brand of copier that was also bought from me.

The temper tantrum thrown by the childish sales "professional" from the vendor of whom we had submitted our proposal against accomplished them only one thing...

Loosing a customer.

This salesman's activities are a perfect illustration of how to shoot yourself in the foot...

It is never a good idea to verbally attack your customer.

While I would likely have taken the sale regardless of this gentleman's actions due to our ability to provide a better price for the hardware and CPC rate for service and supplies, his choice to go off the deep end is what ultimately sealed his fate.

Had he simply chosen to accept he had lost a sale and thank his customer for their consideration perhaps in the future he would have the opportunity to re-quote against us however, my contact made it known that their organization would no longer even consider doing business with our competitor due to the actions of the aforementioned gentleman.

Sure, it hurts to loose a sale and perhaps in some situations emotions such as those presented by my contemporary from our competitor are even justified to some extent, but to unleash those emotions on a customer...

There is no excuse.

Not Your Grandfathers Cold Call

As part of my roll as an MPS sales consultant, I do at least 10 cold calls (by phone and by foot) every week. I stop in to companies of all sizes and garner the names of either the CFO or IT manager of each potential customer.

A few weeks back I decided that I would do all my cold calls through twitter...

While this was an experiment and will only be something I generally do in conjunction with the more "old school" style of cold calling as time goes on, I can honestly say I had the fastest "call back" from a prospect ever.

A new prospect answered my tweet within a few hours of hitting "send" and compared to the response from cold calling on the phone or by foot, this was something of a new record in speed as far as a response to the call is concerned.

I now have a meeting scheduled with this potential client...

Now this will not be my first sale made through twitter, however this example further suggests the writing is on the wall.

I write this as sign of the times or a warning if you will...

If your not using social media to augment your current marketing and sales endeavors, you are missing out on hot leads. Leads which come from people manning twitter accounts from potential customers who are excited to connect with the human beings on the other side of your twitter account.