Monday, October 27, 2008

The Worst Sales Call Ever

I got a funny call Friday. Or at least it was funny for awhile. Then I started thinking about it.

Total cold call.

    "May I speak to the person who makes decisions about technology?"

    I guess that's me. Smirk.

    "Hello. I'm from Cousin Larry's Pretty Good Tech Support. We help companies with technologies like blahdy blahdy yak yak . . . Voip, infrastructure, jargon, layer three, and blah blah. Do you have an interest in any of these?"

    Uh, actually, no. But thanks for calling.

- - - - -

It really was the worst sales call possible.

There was more jargon in fifteen seconds than I normally get in a day.

I wish I'd been able to record it.

At the same time . . .

If that dude stayed on the phone all day, he could make two hundred calls before noon.

That call nagged me all day.

I try to make ten calls a day. Ten. That's not even a bar to jump over: it's a shadow on the carpet. It's nothing.

While I could argue that my calls are "better" and more polished than Cousin Larry's salesman, it takes me a month to make 200 calls.

But last Friday . . . I didn't make my calls. Too busy. [Insert excuses here.]

Last Friday that kid made an appointment. Guaranteed. You dial enough numbers, you're going to make an appointment. Even if it's the worst sales call ever.

200 of the worst sales calls ever is way better than zero of the best sales call ever.

It's funny, when you think about it. We all get caught up in our daily grind. As Michael Gerber puts it, "workin' it, workin' it, workin' it." But somewhere in that daily grind, we forget to do the little things that brought the work in the door.

Many years ago I went through a very busy period. I was buying one house and turning another one into a rental. I was working all day, painting until 11:00 PM, and cleaning and fixing all weekend. The really busy period lasted about three months.

When the three months was over, I had almost nothing to do. Nothing to do at the new house. Nothing to do at the rental. And nothing to do at work. When I was so very busy, I was too busy to make sales calls. I was barely able to take care of the work in front of me.

So, down the road, I had to start making calls. And, of course, there was a lag time until I got new work. The total was not three months, but more like six months.

NOW is the time to line up new work.

NOW, this week, is the time to make phone calls.

NOW, this month. NOW this year. To prepare for next year.

- - - - -

Stuart Selbst over at Secure My Company wrote a blog post the other day, Are You a 30%er?. Great question. Do you take your profession seriously, or are you just a techno-goober trying to get by?

We're all growing our businesses. Even if you want to stay a one-person shop, as a sole entrepreneur, you need to grow the revenue in your business. You need to replace clients who move, merge, go out of business, or generally fade away.

You need to stay ahead of inflation. You need to make sales.

So Friday I thought the sales call was funny. But now I realize that guy's got a sales meeting set up this week and I don't.

Even though I'm off to my HTG meeting later in the week, I'll make my ten calls today and tomorrow.

I promise.



  1. How very true this all is, but you are being too hard on yourself.

    Remember that your cold caller was a professional salesman who probably had nothing to do except make cold business to run, no technical issues to resolve, nothing else, just pick up the phone and dial the numbers on his list. It’s very different when you have other things on your plate. I know because I am a 10 call a day man myself (have been known to make 20 a day though and once scaled the dizzying heights of 101 cold calls in a week).

  2. Thanks for the motivation. 10 calls today, 6 yesterday. 1 new small managed services customer and 1 who will call anytime they need something. Definitely worthwhile.


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