Do not ever be this guy.

This is a true story. The seller’s name is David. And yes, this is his real name. I’m not protecting the innocent because he’s not innocent. He’s guilty of the most moronic act of any professional sales pro today. I will protect the name of his company as I hope that others on his team do a better job than David.

My phone rings. I don’t recognize the number but it is one of those occasions when I decide I will pick up.

A strong confident voice at the other end. “Good morning Jill, this is David at ABC Company. I’m sure you’re always looking for ways to grow your business faster.”

Jill: “Uh Yes.” (I’m curious to see where this goes)

David: “Well I work for ABC Company and we can help you grow your business faster by providing you a constant stream of pre-qualified hot leads. Does that sound of interest to you?”

Jill: “Damn right it does David. So how do you do that?”

David: “We sit with you to identify your target audience and create messages that our team then uses to contact potential prospects. We’ll qualify them and then provide you with the best leads.”

Jill: “Interesting. And so what makes you think you can do a better job of this than me or my team David?” (Now remember who David is speaking to).

David: “Well we have the expertise. We do this every day.”

Jill: “So David. What do you know about my company?”


Jill: “David do you know what I do?”


Jill: “David did you even look at my website before this call? Do you not realize how ludicrous it sounds that you are offering to make multiple prospecting calls on my behalf and yet you’ve failed to make one credible call to me? Right now what do you think the odds are that I’ll say yes to you today?”

David: “I planned to take a look at your site, just ran out of time. But I do plan to take a look when I get off this call.”

Jill: “Not good enough David. But I’m going to cut you some slack. You’re talking to someone who works with sales teams for a living so I’m going to give you a second chance at this. Go away and do your homework and then call back and let me know how, and why, you think you can provide specific value to me.” (I can be a sweetie when I choose to be!)

David: “Ok, I’ll do that. Thanks Jill.”


Frankly, I assumed that would be the last I’d hear from David. But human beings constantly shatter my expectations. About a month or so later… the phone rings.

I pick up.

“Good morning Jill this is David at ABC Company. I’m sure you’re always looking for ways to grow your business faster.” (It’s as if the previous conversation never happened.)

Jill: “David, you’re back. Good for you. So what did you learn about me?”


Jill: “David?”

Click. And David was gone forever.

Unbelievable, right?

Believe it. This happens… more than you think. Sales reps thinking they can get away with zero preparation and assuming the prospect is stupid enough to not notice. David was lucky to get me. I gave him a second chance. Most buyers won’t.

He blew it.

Now, unless you’re a telemarketer dialing for dollars and peddling products, with no interest in building solid business relationships, I know you would never ever think to make a call without knowing something about the person and company you are calling (or e-mailing). And that you would always call with a valid reason. Right?

Let’s face it … only a seriously dumb buyer, or someone with way too much time on their hands, will engage in a conversation with an unknown sales person that has made no effort to understand who they are, what they do and why they might benefit from the call. Buyers aren’t dumb. At least not the ones you want to be talking to.

Every interaction with a prospective client is an opportunity to build credibility… or immediately kill it. When you get a first, or are lucky enough to be given a second, chance to make a great impression make it count! Do NOT be this guy!

Leave a bad voicemail and this could happen to you!

Poor Dan… Not only did he leave an atrocious message. He made the HUGE mistake of leaving it on the voice mail of marketing guru David Newman’s voice mail.

This guy got one thing right…

His email is short, But… what was he thinking? And what the heck is he saying?

The exact wording of an e-mail received, and forwarded to me, by one of my clients:

I am following up from the email I sent over last week. Are you available for a call to discuss how the inclusion of self-directed learning, being driven by an integrated career-pathing agent, can elevate the learning function beyond the cyclical nature of performance driven development plans?

My reaction: Huh?
My client’s reaction: DELETE.

And do not EVER be this guy!

A sales rep from one of my bigger clients left the company to join a competitor as a sales manager. Almost immediately he called one of my client’s customers (quite likely he took the client list and made similar calls to others) and left a voice mail. The message was so “jaw-dropping bad” that this loyal customer forwarded the voice mail to my client… who, after playing the audio to his entire team, then forwarded it to me.

While I’d love to put the link to the audio of this sales leader’s message in this e-zine… I haven’t. For one simple reason… It is so painful … It took over 2 minutes (yawn) and 23 “ums” (yes I counted them) to ask for a 20 minute meeting … I don’t think any of you would have the stamina to get through it.

And did I mention this already? This was a sales manager. Not some inexperienced rep!

Look … if you ever feel you’re entitled to solicit clients from a former employer and you’re calling as the representative of the sales leadership team of your new company … and you want to keep your new position for more than the first week … NEVER EVER wing your sales calls!

I know what’s going through your head. “Jill, these are extreme examples.” Well I’m telling you … they’re not. Too many sellers, whose definition of call preparation is “pick up the phone and speak” unwittingly leave messages that, at best, are ignored. At worst they publically damage their credibility. But here’s the good news… This means BIG opportunity for those of you who are prepared to put in the effort to get this right.

And if you want some direction, or you think it’s time for your team to seriously shake up the status quo, here’s three ways I can help you get noticed by your prospects for the right reasons:

  1. Our “Intelligent” Prospecting workshop will forever shift the way your team thinks about approaching new business development… for better, bigger, faster results.
  2. If you’ve had enough of stale training programs with the big binders and cookie cutter formats, SalesSHIFT’s “Challenger Prospecting” sales lab will get your team creating immediate smart solutions to your “real world” prospecting challenges in a cool collaborative “think tank” environment.
  3. Finally … for a heaping dose of fresh thinking and uncommon sense on this subject hire Jill to speak at your next sales conference … your team will leave inspired and ready to act in ways that engage prospects … not repel them.

For more information, or for a free no-obligation consultation, have your sales leader contact salesSHIFT today.

Got a comment or want to share your own horror stories of sales messages gone wrong? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and I’ll personally respond to you. Good selling!