Business Development TacticsCase StudiesSales ProcessSales TipsSmall Business Advice

The Sales Graveyard: Cold Calling and Other Retired Tactics

By July 7, 2011December 21st, 2015One Comment

Smiling businessman in cubicle

Today’s post it brought to us by our Indiana partner, Chad Root, President of Spearhead Sales & Marketing. 

It was 1995.  I was sitting at my parent’s kitchen table talking with my brother.  We were both only a couple of years into our careers.  My brother was an engineer for a decent sized automotive supplier.  I was a “Sales Engineer” for a small packaging company.  I’ll never forget it.

He said, “You’ll never sell to me!”

I said, “Why not.”

He said, “Because I won’t answer your phone calls (pre-email days you know).”

Back in 1995, smiling and dialing was expected.  A sales person was supposed to get names from trade shows, Thomas Register, Harris, etc.  Then they were supposed to start calling.  I swear, salespeople taught buyers to not answer the phone.  I honestly believe bad sales tactics had a lot to do with the internet boom.  Buyers desperately wanted a way to get product information without a pushy salesperson.

So our conversation continued…

I said, “Well, you buy a lot of product and equipment for your company, right?”

He said with zeal, “Yeah! $10mil a year.”

I said, “Well then it’s my job to be there when you’re shopping so that you buy from me.”

He didn’t know what to say.  And, hence the golden rule:

We don’t sell things.  People buy things.  Our job is to help them make a sound buying decision.

So how do you do that?  Does showing up at the lobby of a company once a month, calling every three weeks, emailing “just checking in”, or dropping off literature do the trick?  No.  In addition to these worn out tactics, here are three tips to avoid the Sales Graveyard:

1)      Is your job customer service or sales?  I’ve seen a ton of salespeople become swallowed up in the day-to-day because they would rather be customer service than go out into the marketplace and make new things happen.  Seriously, do your job and let the other people on your team do theirs.

2)      Take personal responsibility to represent the company you are selling for.  Salespeople are still trying to play the game of middleman so they can have “job security”.  This doesn’t work.  In fact, the best way to secure your job is to build reputation and rapport between the customer and your company; not just you.

3)      Identify your target client’s buying signals then offer education, tools, training and insights to help them through their buying process.  How do you know if you’re doing a good job?  Hang these resources in front of your target buyers and let them grab onto what they see as helpful.  Not only will you be seen as a professional, the buyers will be coming to you instead of you forcing yourself on them.

The Whale Hunters program offers insights, tools and training to help you, and your teammates (throughout your company), practice these important principles.

Chad Root is a Certified Consultant for The Whale Hunters and President of Spearhead Sales & Marketing.  Click here for more on Chad Root.  Spearhead, in collaboration with TaigMarks and Effect Web, provides sales & marketing consulting, branding, advertising/PR and web marketing services.

  • Great post Chad. Thanks for writing. All three of your principles are key tenets for successful sales behavior in today’s market. Our job is to advise the prospective buyers about how to get what they most need, whether from us or from someone else.

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