Please Listen to Me: A Plea To Salespeople

Shocking: This is not a post about food.

And, since it’s not about food but is about something that happened at work the other week, I feel that I should say this is purely my opinion (as is everything on this blog). Stick a fork in that, already.

Here’s what happened – a salesperson called on me at work, selling advertising.

I was up-front in the meeting, telling the individual that I was going to be very resistant to the notion of purchasing advertising. Honestly, in my opinion, advertising isn’t effective in selling what we do.

Would you give me $50 million to build a building because you saw an ad about my firm? Six ads? No? I didn’t think so.

Anyway, I’d granted the salesperson 20 minutes of my time, answered a ton of questions about what our firm did, was honest but polite, and that was that.

About 30 minutes after our meeting, the individual sent me an email that thanked me for my time and commented on how advertising would be a perfect fit for what we do. The end pitch was an advertising solution priced at $12,500.

This really aggravated me.

So here’s what I’d like all salespeople to know – whether selling to me at work or otherwise.

  1. Understand your customer. Unless you are selling something generic, like a vacuum cleaner, come to a sales meeting knowing a bit about what I do, what my firm does, or what might bring me into your store.
  2. If you don’t know, ask. What can I help you with? What are the main features you need? Your biggest problem? What works? What doesn’t?
  3. Listen to the words coming out of my mouth. Don’t just wait for me to finish speaking to give your pre-programmed pitch. You may want to sell me X, but if my answers clearly indicate that Y is a better solution, then pitch that. After all…
  4. Remember who is ultimately in control. I am. I’m the buyer. I don’t have to buy from you. I don’t have to buy your product or service. I want you to
  5. Solve my problem, help my situation or make my life easier, better or in some way more awesome.

So please, PLEASE, listen to me.


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