Productivity Gone Very Wrong

Has this ever happened to you?

In this era of constantly striving to improve our productivity, as sales people we are continuously making decisions as to which activities we should do now, do later, delegate or simply never do. However, I have a “don’t-do-this” story for you, that as a customer, left me feeling “out in the cold.”

Just last week I was looking to buy a service from a company on behalf of one of my clients. In order to meet the sales person and get to know him, I attended an event (that I travelled to) and requested a phone meeting with him the following week. He suggested that I call him that week rather than scheduling the meeting with me on the spot. Productivity Problem #1: I had to do the work of setting up the appointment for him to sell me something! You should be the one to ask for the meeting and schedule it, not me. Make it easy for your prospects (and customers) to do business with you.

When I called the office, I booked the meeting with someone who works with the sales person to talk to him later that week. When the appointed time arrived, the scheduler was on the call, but the sales person was not. I said, “Is Rick (not his real name) joining us on the call?” No, she replied, with no explanation. So we continued our discussion, and when I realized that the sales person himself would be the one delivering the service I was surprised as I didn’t get the chance on this call to build a relationship with him. Productivity Problem #2: Don’t try to save your valuable time, at the expense of an effective prospect call. If he’s delivering the service, then I want to speak with him, ask him direct questions, and scope him out, so to speak. Be sure to give your prospects the respect and time they deserve, especially if they have you go to the effort of setting the meeting.

I provided the key information that the person on the phone needed to provide me with a ballpark fee (I even suggested that she could provide a wide range), to give her the opportunity to qualify me to see if my client’s company had the funds. She wouldn’t do that and said she would provide me with a quote without asking me when I would need to see the “proposal” (as she should have called it!). It’s been 3 business days and nothing. I am left to assume that they do not want our business – perhaps they see my client’s large company as insignificant (time will tell, and we will have to be okay with that). Productivity Problem #3: Give your prospect an early broad range of how much your service will be, especially when they ask for it. You don’t want to appear as concealing something. Leave yourself some room for the number to change once you’ve priced it out. This would have been an opportunity for her to save some of that time they seem to so preciously guard! Productivity Problem #4: Lacking that sense of urgency leaves me feeling that the delivery of their service will be the same: slow, with no care or concern to my client’s needs.

As the kids say, “EPIC FAIL.” And rest assured, because I was representing a large company in this situation, I reflected these concerns back to them.

Think Like a Customer

Think back on this story and make sure that you are not pawning off key prospects to others in your organization that will put your deals in jeopardy. Yes, you need to guard your time like it’s the most precious thing in the world, but make those decisions very carefully as it could impact the growth of your business.

How would you want to be treated, what would make you feel special and wanted by the vendor? What would it take for you to want to continue that relationship and even become that company’s trust partner?

We’d love to hear your thoughts; add your comments below. 416-520-4897.

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