My Open Letter to Salespeople – My Comfort Column

MY OPEN LETTER TO SALESPEOPLE (Take with a pinch of salt)

Dear Salesperson,

I’m writing to share my concerns about your sales techniques that I have observed in my 5 years as a Marketing professional.

I empathise that we all have a job to do, and granted, it might be that your advertising slot, new piece of software or even the whole of your business could contribute towards me achieving my professional targets or indeed surpassing them. However, please understand a few things when making your pitch to me.

I’m not stupid. Your ‘special offers’ are fairly transparent and it’s hard to believe your claims that they are exclusively for me, especially when we have no history. In most cases, we have never spoken before and , often, I will have ignored all your previous emails offering something similar, if not the same. Whilst finances are always going to be important, you’re wrong in thinking that’s the eye catcher. But thanks for trying to make me feel special.

Whilst on the topic of emails, if you’re going to recycle a mirror-message over and over again, after pressing Ctrl-Alt-V, please take a moment to change the font on my name, check your formatting and keep some consistency with the rest of the email. Listen, I’m probably going to ignore the email anyway but at least give yourself a chance.

Now, just because I ignored your email, this is not an implicit invitation to start hammering redial on my direct line, or worse, my work switchboard. You wouldn’t try entering my garden door if I didn’t answer the front. It’s the same. As well as an analogy let me kindly translate some code and offer some inside information: if you are told that I’m busy, in a meeting or away from my desk repeatedly, take the hint, I’m not interested in what you’re selling.

Okay, you’ve got through to me. I’m British so will typically make every attempt to be as polite possible and humour your pitch. The factual reality is it will be the last thing on my mind and often the last thing I’ll need. Don’t try to pressure me into a booking a meeting or a phone call within the next few days. It’ll force me to fob you off with “I need to have a chat internally” or worse shut you down there and then.

This leads me neatly to my next point. If I do decline your unbeatable ‘once in a life time offer’ – please don’t proceed to ask me why I don’t want it and try to prove me wrong. I’m now thinking about my 100 unread emails and outstanding tasks. I don’t owe you an explanation but now you owe me lost time and guess what, I still don’t want your sale.

LinkedIn – please let me remind you, it’s not Facebook. A connection doesn’t make us friends suddenly. Please don’t message me with niceties such as “How am I enjoying my day?” in the hope to lure me into a sale later. Keep it professional, please!

I know things aren’t static and business needs change, but having declined in the first place, I’m probably not going to want to mull over the same ground in 6 months’ time and repeat the process with you, and surely you must be bored of repeating your script.

You’ll probably be thinking, how do I sell to you Tom? I don’t know the answer to your question but maybe if you can begin to understand my grievances and work on creating long term understanding with me, as opposed to focusing on what you need to sell here and now, we might be able to begin to have mutually fruitful partnership in the future. Just an idea, but you’re the salesman, not me.

I hope this feedback proves helpful and you will consider a revision of your strategies and methods. It will benefit you, me, and your fellow sales people. How about that for a sale?

Kind Regards,

Tom Rose


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