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November 18, 2014
A Sales Call Worth Forgetting
 
We know that it is tough out there for small business professionals. We are not sectioned off to the point of forgetting how tough it was for our agency to get footing in a new city, trying to build credibility in order to win clients.

The sales call — the pitch — must be perfect. 

In many cases, cold calling or emailing for new business doesn't need to be without a reference. With wonderful inventions like LinkedIn, we can almost always find some kind of connection with our prospective client. But, in other cases, the tried-and-true method of cold calling is still needed.

We got a call last night from such a professional. We had to listen to the voicemail twice just to make sure we heard it right and that it was an actual sales call. This guy was clever; he started by mentioning our post on why there aren't any new ideas from several months ago. 

Okay, you're reading our stuff. We'll listen.

He noted that though we threw a lot of blame on the client — the brand — the agency is also to blame. 

Okay, differing opinion: We like it. 

Here is where it derails. First, he narrowed down his accusation from all agencies to our agency, saying that we didn't listen to new ideas.

Strike one.

Then he started to pitch his service for YouTube Codeword indexing. But the way he framed it, it sounded like other agencies weren't giving him the time of day.

Strike two.

And finally, he only left his number. No website to check out, no previous content to look up, and not even a repeat of his name.

Strike three.

Listen, we love finding out new ways and activities to get brands in front of potential customers. But immediately after the call, the only information — factual information — about YouTube Codeword activity is from the Google Patent page. Either it's a new concept or something professionals are simply avoiding.

But just come clean. We feel the same frustration as customers do when salespeople try to disguise a sale. We want an interaction; don't go so out of the way to mess it up.

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Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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