Social Media SalesThis morning I received a call from a sales rep that spoke to me as if we had an existing relationship.

I had never heard of him before, yet he spoke like we had a few conversations and I was familiar with his product. Naturally, I was at a loss and was frantically searching for some ideas as to where we met or when we talked. But I had never heard of him before.

After telling him that I had no idea who he was, he restated his name and said, “you reached out to us a few days ago, and I’m just following up to do a discovery to see how I can assist you.”

Now I’m really drawing a blank. I’m still trying to figure out whom he was, the company he was with, and if we had a previous conversation.

After I stressed the point that I still had no idea who he was, he said, “did you download one of our white papers on mobile device management?”  That’s when the light came on.

“Oh, your following up on a white paper download. Now I understand. You said I reached out to you. There’s a big difference.”

His statement was, “No, not really…” at which point I responded, “Yes, there is. But let’s move on from that for now…” and we talked a bit about MDM software.

It wasn’t really a discussion since I was just starting to investigate MDM options.  I hadn’t had a chance to read the white paper and since he had based his entire call strategy around the paper, we parted ways.

Here are two points we can learn from this situation:

  1. Don’t argue with the prospect. A convincing argument may seem like a viable option, but it isn’t.  I can’t tell you how many prospects I lost by winning an argument. You are there to win them to your way of thinking, not to “pick a fight” or to “be right”. If they believe the sky is red, acknowledge that and move on (there’s bound to be a sunset somewhere). When you call into a target company, your job is not to argue with them; you job is to move the sale forward. Keep that objective in mind.
  2. Take control of the conversation. He used the phrase, “you reached out to us”. Now I’m sure that sounds “sales 2.0-ey” and non-threatening, but it’s a little too soft. As a sales rep, you need to direct the conversation in the customer’s mind so you can understand where they are and where they are going. The phrase “you reached out to us” leaves too much up to individual interpretation. “Reaching out” can be a phone call for one person, a handshake to another, and an email message to yet another. This sales rep could have eliminated over 2 minutes of confusion simply saying, “You downloaded a white paper entitled ‘Mobile Data Management Software Basics’ from our site”.  It’s not as flowery as “you reached out to us”, but it does have the advantage of being direct and quick. If you want to direct the conversation, you need to use “specific” language.

So what do you think? If your prospect downloads your whitepaper, does that mean they are reaching out to you?  Weigh in and be heard down below.