Thursday, June 26, 2008

Jill Konrath Mistake Story #3 - 5 minutes to engage a prospect, and nothing to losing your cool

From The Mistake Bank, our final sales mistake story from "Selling to Big Companies" author Jill Konrath.

When I walked in the front door of The Kaplan Company, there were at least 30 desks filled with women who were busy doing order entry and handling customer service issues.

I told the receptionist that I wanted to speak to the person who made copier decisions. After a quick check with the boss, she escorted me past all those working women into his office.
"Sit down," he said gruffly. "You've got 5 minutes. Talk."

"If you're busy, I'll come back later," I said, trying to be gracious.

"Nope," he stated. " 5 minutes. Tell me why I should buy your product. Your 5 minutes is starting now."

I mumbled. I stumbled. I tried to engage him in conversation. I tried to explain that I needed more time. He wasn't one bit interested. After 5 minutes, he arose and said, "Your time is up. You can leave now."

That ticked me off. I told him he was rude and obnoxious. Then I turned and stormed out of his office past all those women, shouting back at him, "I'll never sell you a Xerox machine. You don't deserve to work with Xerox."

I know it's hard to believe, but I really did lose my cool. And I'm also sure that guy never wanted to work with Xerox again. But he had a point. I couldn't concisely state why he should listen to me.

I wanted to build a relationship and warm up the call. That made me feel better. He was a busy man who chose to use his time judiciously. I didn't respect his needs. After that cold-calling disaster, I learned to net it out. That lesson is even more important today than it was years ago....

The hardest thing in the world is to look at your own complicity in the situation, yet that's where the maximum growth is for you and ultimately, the key to your long-term sales success.

Related Posts:
Jill Konrath Mistake Story #1
Jill Konrath Mistake Story #2

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