The Worst Sales Call Ever
by Shep Hyken
Even though this is about a sales presentation, it ties into customer service. It has to do with preparation, knowing your customer, understanding what they want, and more. This is what great salespeople do to prepare for a meeting with a customer or client. This is how anyone delivers a better experience, regardless of whether it’s during the sales process or any other interaction the customer has with people in a company. It is how relationships are built.
So, maybe the story I’m about to share isn’t truly the worst sales call ever, but it was really bad. I’ll let you be the judge.
I was contacted by a vendor who wanted to upgrade me to a more expensive product. No doubt, the product would be better for us. I was intrigued, but also recognized the cost would be substantially more.
- We agreed to meet on Zoom. I was on time. He was not. Just a minute late, but late nonetheless. I could let this slide if it weren’t for what followed. The lesson: Be on time. Showing up late is a sign of disrespect.
- After a few minutes of listening to him, I wondered if he knew what we did at Shepard Presentations, so I asked him. He became quite uncomfortable. I could tell he was typing in our company name. He responded with, “You’re a design firm.” I asked, “What do we design?” He said, “Graphics.” Wrong answer! I told him, “I’m customer service speaker and we provide customer service training.” That made him even more uncomfortable. The lesson: Know who your customer is. If you can, plan in advance, do a little homework and spend a couple of minutes (or more) finding out what your customer does. And if you don’t know, ask.
- Now for something more positive. Eventually, he realized we were a small business. He shared that he focused on enterprise-size businesses, but his company had someone who supported smaller businesses. He offered to make an email introduction. I thought, “Let’s see how long it takes to make that introduction.” Good news! Shortly after our call, he made the email introduction. He also accepted that he wasn’t prepared and apologized. The lesson: Actually, there are two of them. First, be quick to admit when you’ve made a mistake and make the appropriate apology. And second, be sure to follow through on any promise you make, such as his offer to connect us with the right person.
Yes, it was a terrible sales call. But you can see that it ended on a positive note. Will I give the company a second chance? Because of the follow-up, I’ll at least give them the chance to have a second chance. Even with this Moment of Misery, the sales rep managed to keep the door open for an opportunity to continue to do business with us.