My phone lit up with an urgent text message from someone on my staff: “XXX called and needs you to call him right away. He said you would know who he is.”
I didn’t recognize XXX’s name, but I meet a lot of people and thought maybe he was someone I’d met on a recent trip or had a social media conversation with. Whatever. I didn’t have time to phone him before the meeting I was headed into, but I made a note to return his call later.
When he answered, he mumbled his name and I had to clarify that I was actually speaking to the right person. I identified myself, but he didn’t have a clue who I was. I reminded him of the message he left, and he perked right up. “Oh, yeah! I’m an account executive for XYZ and I was calling to tell you about XYZ’s services.”
I stopped him right there and told him he didn’t need to say anything more. Then I told him we would not be doing business together, and he needed to find a better way to get to decision makers.
There’s an old sales adage that “People buy from people they trust and they trust people they like.” While I realize there’s more to the sales process than trusting and liking someone, I certainly will not buy from someone I don’t trust.
Guess what, Mr. Account Executive?
Interrupting my staff and telling them I would know who you are makes me not like you very much. And when you lead with deception, I certainly don’t trust you. Further, using that kind of tactic casts a pall on the company you represent as well. If these are the techniques people in your company use to make a sale, what other deceptive ploys await down the road?
Believe me, I know how hard sales can be. I employ salespeople myself and know how difficult it can be to get to a decision maker. But if the first outreach to a potential customer is based on trickery and deception, there’s no chance of a relationship. And solid relationships are what sales are all about in the long run.