By R. Christopher Haines, Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer
Anyone sick of leftover turkey yet? Many people have probably had everything from turkey sandwiches to turkey pot pie. I love turkey, but even I get sick of it after a while.
Speaking of turkeys, in my line of work, I come across quite a few. Don’t get me wrong. The overwhelming number of people I come in contact with are really great people. The turkeys seem to always crop up in the usual places — tradeshows, conventions, and on the Internet.
Aggressive salespeople are turkey number one for me. It’s a real struggle for me because I didn’t start on the vendor side of the business, I started on the company side. And there was nothing I hated more than aggressive sales tactics when I was the one receiving those calls. Do they ever work? What is the purpose? Beat someone up until they give in?
Even though I’m the one on the other side now, I still occasionally get a sales call. Recently, I got one for accounting software. We were interested enough to have them provide pricing and I got the, “If you buy this by Friday I can get it to you for ….” Seriously? This is software not a mattress. As a result of this, we won’t be buying from them.
I see people trying these tactics at almost every tradeshow I go to. People attacking show attendees like piranhas as they walk by. There’s more to life than sales quotas, people. How about letting prospects know what you do so you can be there when they need you? It might be more productive (to say nothing of polite) than forcing yourself onto people who don’t currently need you.
A close second for turkeys that I hate most are know-it-alls. If you’re a consultant or a vendor, your job is to help the people paying you money. It isn’t padding your company’s résumé or convincing the employees of your customer you know more than they do. Your job isn’t to create drama; it’s to do what you’re contracted to do.
You might be amazed how many vendors don’t get that. If you’re a vendor, the customer comes to you with a problem. Solve the problem. If you do a good job, word will get out. You don’t have to try to convince everyone.
So, if you’re Tom the Turkey of sales or customer relationships, you might want to change your ways before it’s your neck on the chopping block.