Farquharson/Tedesco on Business Development: Thank You for Hanging Up
Hi! I just called a minute ago and you hung up on me. Just wanted to call back with a quick, "Thanks!" Yes, sir. Thanks. Thank you for hanging up on me.
Why thanks? Well, I work very hard for my customers. When they need something in a hurry, I make it happen. When they need advice, I give it. When they need a favor, I grant it. You see, I believe in the axiom, "A good vendor is as important as a good customer!"
But you don't, and you proved that when you hung up on me as I was attempting to make a sales call on you. No sooner had I gotten a few words out of my mouth when you slammed the phone down after grunting, "Not interested!"
That action says a lot about who you are and a lot about who your company is, and I don't want anything to do with either one of you.
Yes, sir. You heard me correctly. I don't want to do business with you and I'm calling you back to tell you so. I wouldn't want you calling me in the future to get a price or to ask for a quick delivery. Let's end any chance of a relationship now so that we are both clear. This can be our last conversation. Ever.
Chutzpah, you say? Nerve? Yes, I suppose those two words are appropriate. But please note the calm tone of my voice and general demeanor. I am not yelling. I am not angry with you. I am not upset in the least. I am grateful!
You still don't get it, huh? Then let me explain it this way...My customers value what I do and reward my effort with their loyalty and their business. We have wonderful, professional relationships and I have the honor of calling most of them my friend, as well. I go to their Christmas parties. We exchange birthday cards. I've known many of my clients for years. They know that there are cheaper prices out there. They know that, on the surface, there is money to be saved. But they still buy from me.
They bring me in at the Design Stage of the job. We sit and discuss what they are trying to accomplish. I ask them questions to try and come up with the best print solution. Anyone can get ink and toner to stick to paper. I work to make certain that the printed piece is properly meeting the need.
They bring my competition in at the Quote Stage. They do this because they recognize that I sell ideas and they throw around prices. They are racing each other to the bottom with their selling strategy. My customers know that when they choose that direction, they generally regret it. Sure, that kind of printer does get some work, but not from the customers that I choose to do business with. My clients buy with the same selling philosophy that they sell: Quality, integrity, relationship...oops, sorry. You asked me why I was grateful to you and I got sidetracked.
I'll Share My Best Ideas Elsewhere
I thanked you for hanging up on me because you have saved me a lot of time! I can take you off my contact list. I can stop thinking about ways to help you grow your business. I can stop reading up on your industry with an eye towards helping you to solve problems and move forward. By the way, that's why I was calling you: To share such an idea.
My industry? Printing. But that's what I do, not who I am. I am a Business Growth Strategist. I solve problems and earn orders. I learn the story behind the printed piece and I come up with the best print solution. I reduce the usage cost of the document. I increase their value. Print just happens to be the primary medium I use.
I do all of this at no extra charge to my customers. This is the service that I provide in return for receiving their business.
It might sound funny to you, but I choose my customers just as much as they choose me. I don't beg people to do business with me. I show them the value that I bring, I show them how high the bar is set, and I look for companies and people who see me not as a vendor but as a partner.
Look, I understand that you are bombarded with phone calls all day long. I empathize with the fact that it's an interruption to your day. But entertaining phone calls from new vendors shows that you don't know what you don't know. It demonstrates that you are willing to listen to new ideas; ideas that could help your company to grow. This, in turn, encourages guys like me to work even harder to retain your business.
I am a good and valuable resource. By hanging up on me as you did, you have robbed your company of the chance to find out just how good and valuable I am. My time is precious and I am particular with how I spend it. So, thank you for hanging up on me.
Oh, could I ask a favor? Could you tell me the name of your company's biggest competitor? That's right. You see, in preparing for my phone call to you, I did a lot of research on your industry and I've got some great ideas on how to grow sales. I was hoping to share them with you, of course, but then you...you know, so here we are. Anyway, I hate to see all that effort go to waste. It's a great idea and it really should benefit someone.
When we get off this call, you can do one of two things. First, you could lean over to the guy in the next cubicle and be the hero of your own story. Tell him about this crazy, cocky sales rep who just ripped you a new one. Your other option is to take a different tact with the next incoming cold call you get.
Why not give the next caller five minutes of your time? You might just hear something that will rock your world. You can always say, "No, thank you," later. But initially, listen. Hear what they have to say. Test them on their knowledge of your company. If you're just the next name on a list that they bought, go ahead and end the call. But if they've come prepared; if they've done some research; if they've brought their "A" game to the call, then grant them an appointment. You don't know what you don't know.
A good vendor is as important as a good customer.
Have a nice day!
About the Authors
T.J. Tedesco is a team leader of Grow Sales, a marketing and PR services company that has served graphic arts companies since 1996. He wrote "Direct Mail Pal 2012" and seven other books. Contact Tedesco at (301) 294-9900 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bill Farquharson is the president of Aspire For. Through his Sales Challenge and Tuesday eWorkshop training programs, Farquharson can help drive your sales. Visit his Website at www.aspirefor.com or call him at (781) 934-7036.
Bill Farquharson is a sales trainer for the graphic arts. Email him at Bill@AspireFor.com or call (781) 934-7036. Bill’s two books, The 25 Best Print Sales Tips Ever and Who’s Making Money at Digital/Inkjet Printing…and How? as well as information on his new subscription-based website, The Sales Vault are available at BillFarquharson.com.