By R. Christopher Haines, President and CEO
You know who these guys are. They know who they are. Or maybe it’s scarier if they don’t. But I can tell you one thing: They give the rest of us who need to sell stuff a bad reputation.
This example takes the cake: We had an outage to a key service, a service that isn’t cheap and is so important we have a redundant provider. This is the kind of service that should never go down. And good providers of this service never do. But this provider is down for one reason or another once a month or so.
During the latest outage, I reached out to our sales rep to express my usual displeasure. This is the kind of organization in which you never have the same sales rep for more than three months. So, you’re always jumping through the same hoops trying to educate them about your company, why particular things aren’t acceptable, and all that jazz.
What you’d expect from this conversation is the usual: “I’m very sorry to hear that. We value you as a customer and understand your frustration. We’re doing everything we can to get the service restored. I hate that this is happening to you.”
Is this what I got? No. Instead, I received an option to purchase additional services from them to help us when these incidents occur.
Wow! This was a first for me — using the failure to provide acceptable service to sell new services that will help me in the times you don’t provide acceptable service. Crazy. How about investing in the infrastructure so outages don’t happen? You know, so I don’t have to buy those other services.
Regardless of how you spin it, this is the reason people don’t like salespeople. No matter how good, honest, and unslimy some of us try to be, those other guys are always out there. And it’s hard for the rest of us to break the resulting stereotype.
It doesn’t always have to be about how much you can sell. Sometimes it’s about doing what’s best for your prospect or customer. Maybe those other guys might back a few bucks off of their commission checks to do what’s right for once.
So to the guy who tried to sell me more service after bad service (sung in my best Jon Bon Jovi voice), buddy you give sales a bad name.