The display on the base of the phone read “Unidentified Caller.” I don’t usually answer the phone when I see this display…but last evening I did. Just as I thought…a telemarketer.
The person politely asked for “Mike Marchev.” I said, “Speaking.” The caller then attempted to interest me in her Energy Company. Being that it was dinner time, I politely interrupted her in the middle of her script, and in a calm voice informed her that, “I am not in the market for a new Energy Company, and in fact, you have called before and I have told you the same thing.” I then bid her a sincere good-bye and gently hung up the phone. I was proud of myself for the polite and humanely way I managed to say “buzz-off” without sounding rude or aggravated by this unsolicited evening intrusion.
I later found myself thinking about this phone call. What if this woman’s company really was better? What if a new service could actually save me money while supplying a more reliable service? Why didn’t I give this salesperson the time to deliver her message? She was probably a nice, honest, hard-working woman who had nothing but good intentions…and was simply earning a living trying to help people. I found myself asking, “What was wrong with me?”
The only logical answer I could come up with was that “the devil I knew was better than the devil I did not know.” I did not invent this response. That, and the fact that I must be a lazy slug and an uncaring husband who did not have any interest whatsoever in investigating any potential money-saving-service-improving opportunities. If it wasn’t my idea, I was not interested.
Shortly after giving this woman a second thought, I immediately erased her from my memory…until I decided to use her as an example in today’s message.
And so it is with you, my fellow sales professionals. You are faced with the same conundrum while regularly having to deal with the same outcome. Your prospects simply don’t care about you or your vacation-improvement ideas. They too are lazy and have little time or interest to consider any unsolicited input without it being their idea.
Change involves work. And nobody (nobody) enjoys taking on additional work until it is absolutely necessary. (This does not make them bad people.)
Chances of you force-feeding yourself and your ideas onto unsuspecting “targets” are not good. Dare I even say impossible? Why? It involves work.
The secret lies in being visible, reachable and available when your “target” wakes up with buying on their minds. (It must be their idea.) Until then, it is in your best interest to do, say, write and report non-threatening information that gets your “targets” to think about the possible missed opportunities they may be too lazy to recognize.
I truly hope that I am not getting ripped-off by my current utility supplier, but until some phone jockey manages to capture my attention long enough to blow in my ear with a few “what-if” scenarios, or until my electricity suddenly fails at an inopportune time, I will never know.
I hope this woman keeps on calling. One evening just after my heater stops heating, I will be ready to focus on her every word.
Mike Marchev has plenty of stories, strategies and tactics to keep you on top of your game.
Mike will be conducting his 5th annual Travel Sales & Marketing Business Development Cruise, sailing the Freedom of The Seas from Ft. Lauderdale. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org for complete details. Five cabins are still available.
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