Starting today, I’m doing something I should have done 10 years ago. I refuse to take sales calls of any type unless they fit one of these three criteria…
- We have an active request for proposals for that specific product.
- I have directly contacted your company with an inquiry about a specific product (and that doesn’t mean you happened to get my contact info from some conference or other indirect means.)
- We have already established a client-vendor relationship for specific goods and/or services.
So unless your sales call happens to fit the above, don’t expect much of a response from me. I will still accept e-mails so that I have your contact information on hand, but I will not have an extended phone conversation with you, I will need attend a webinar, and I will not schedule a meeting with you.
When I started this job I really wasn’t sure how to handle sales people. I knew I needed to make contacts and familiarize myself with the industry. However, I’m far past that point. I had already been selective as to which calls I would entertain, but I have a personality flaw. I don’t like to be rude or abrupt to people, and sometimes that’s what it takes. I have to practice the following line…
Please don’t take this personally, but I am not going to continue this conversation. I just don’t have the time. You may send me e-mail, but we will be the ones to initiate any sales inquiries.
…a polite variation on, “Don’t call us. We’ll call you.”
Very early on I cut out all “research” calls – survey companies wanting “opinions from experts in the field such as yourself.” Those folks can be very persistent and I’ve had to say goodbye and hang up often while they are trying to keep me on the line.
I’m sure it has lots to do with a slowing economy, but lately I’ve been getting even more calls. Most of the callers want to know when various contracts we have for web content filtering, virus protect, etc., etc. will expire. They claim to be able to save me money. That may be, for the initial product, but the costs involved in switching to an entirely new system, then training end users is hardly ever factored in.
Then there are those that think that just because one of my neighboring districts has their product, I should have it, too. What I really dislike is when I get a sales call and they say they have their product in xyz district. I call xyz district to find out that the sales person did call on them, they got a 30 day trial, but are not considering purchasing the product. Do these folks think that we don’t talk to each other??
I do want to say that I appreciate the client-vendor relations I’ve worked hard to establish. For the most part, our vendors work very well with is. It’s in their best interest to do so. Therefore I’m not going to take those relationships lightly and change them just to save a few dollars. The true cost of ownership is often more than a bottom line.