As a small business owner, there are a ton of things that I must do on my own. I deal with my own taxes, insurance, expenses, marketing, communications, product creation, research, etc. And by “deal with” these things, I mean that I am responsible for making sure they get done, even if I delegate those tasks to other people. Also, as a small business owner, I’m continually evangelizing my services and am always open to inquiries from potential clients.
However, there’s one thing that I wish salespeople would stop doing: opening a conversation with a small business owner in a way that makes it sound like you need services, only to turn around once you have them on the phone and try to sell THEM things.
I had this happen to me recently. I received an email from a representative of a company that seemed like an inquiry for work. The email went along the lines of, “Hey, I learned about you from one of my clients and I’d love to talk to you soon about what you offer. Do you have some time to chat this week?”
Well, sure! I replied that I did have time to talk, but I would love to learn more about what their company does and how I can help them.
I received an email reply that talked all about their company and what they offer and how it might benefit my business.
I’m sure you’re not surprised to learn that I decided not to return that email. Sorry, I don’t have time to chat. I don’t want your high-speed enterprise system. I operate my business off a regular desktop computer and an iPad.
This is the kind of sales and marketing that turns customers off your product and gives the work a bad name. It’s insincere. It’s sleazy. It’s tricking someone into a conversation and then (likely) layering on a bit of guilt when they’re hesitant about your product. I would have much preferred being approached in a straightforward way, being offered a snippet of info about the product, and then being sold to in a direct manner. I mean, I’m still going to say no, but you might have received some referrals from me.