Wednesday, July 31, 2013

So you want to meet with me?

A long time ago I wrote a blog post called "So you want to sell me stuff?"  Even though I'm in IT, not Sales it has been one of the most popular posts I've done on this site...

Today though I want to vent a bit and also share some tips you can use when you are trying to setup an appointment with me. On average I get, let me see, 7+ 14 and carry the one, well a lot of cold calls. So many that I stopped answering my phone. It's not that I'm too dumb to understand what value you can bring to me, or that I hate people, it's just that I get a lot of calls and most of them are a complete waste of time.

So in the spirit of helping my fellow man here are 10 tips to make you more likely to get an appointment...

1. Check to see if I'm already working with someone. I hate when someone calls me on a cold call and I've been actively working on a deal. If your sales process is so completely broken that you can't tell an active account from a potential lead, I doubt you can help me with directions to Domino's, let alone a complicated IT process..

2. "My Director really wants to meet you" (or network with you, or partner with you). This one really shouldn't bother me because I know why people do it, I mean the director is busy and trying to line up appointments and time slots. Don't make it seem like meeting me is his or her lifelong dream. If they have time and think my company may get some value out of the discussion, cool. Say that. This one paired with #9 sets me off every time.

3. When you call me, be knowledgeable about what it is you are actually selling so if I ask a question you can at least speak intelligently about it. I know that you may need to bring in a technical resource for a followup call but if you don't have any clue what it is you are selling, don't bug me. Please.

4. If you call me and I can't hit redial to call you back, I'm probably not going to call you back. OK I know this is mostly simple laziness on my part, but it is in your best interest to make it easy for me to get to you, not the other way around. Besides I rarely have a pen and paper in front of me to write down your number, my writing is horrible and my eyes aren't much better so even if I want to take the time to do all of this I probably can't read the number anyway.

5. If I agree to a call, send me a calendar invite. I forget meetings I'm required to be at because its not in my calendar. If you expect me to remember a meeting from a cold call 2 weeks ago that probably isn't going to happen without an invite. I might not accept it (and I do know that's annoying, sorry) but at least it will be in my daily agenda when I look at it.

5b. If I agree to a call, setup a conference bridge, or web conference etc. I won't answer my phone, if you call and we'll just have to reschedule anyway... Save both of us some time.

6. If the call is not with you, let me know that up front. This sort of goes along with #2. It also falls under something that shouldn't annoy me but does. I know it's probably a character flaw. I'll try to work on it.

7. If you are reaching out on linkedin and I've never met you, it isn't likely that I will accept your request if it is just the default "I'd like to add you to my network on linkedin" I figured that, hence the invite. If I just met with you, or we met a few days ago and I remember you, that's fine. I do that too when I really want to connect with someone before I forget and am in a hurry. If I have no idea who you are or why we should connect I'll delete the message.

8. Don't name drop unless you really know someone and actually had the conversation. "Hi I was talking to Zuck and he said I should call". Sure Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, who I've never met, just happened to suggest you call? Come on...

PS Mark, if you are reading this and want to chat, hit me up on FB and we can connect.....

9. Please don't cold call me and the run through a qualification process that is so obvious I have to wonder why you wanted to call me without knowing any of this stuff. I understand you want to focus your resources on people that are likely to buy but do that BEFORE you call me, or at least weave it into the conversation so it doesn't feel like an interrogation.  Any chance you had of me wanting to have another call with your company probably went out the window.

10. Be respectful of my time, and I'll do the same. If you tell me your call is going to take 2 minutes at 125 seconds I'm already getting annoyed. On the flip side if there is no chance of me needing what you are selling, I'll let you know as soon as I can so you can make another call.

Sales is hard and I understand. I do want to buy things, not everything. Follow this advice and my other post  on selling and you will have a good chance of at least getting me to listen to you. I won't promise that I'll buy anything but at least we can have a good discussion...


  1. Rich you are right on target and as always bring insights and humor to the often banal world of IT. My favorites of this list are 7 and 9. Nothing is more annoying than someone who hasn't done the leg work or bothered to even care.

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  3. Thanks Joe. Hopefully we will get better cold calls.