How NOT To Sell!

Recently I was on the receiving end of the worst sales approach in a long time. Somebody had identified me as their perfect prospect and they were determined to get in front of me to present their pitch.

In the end they tracked me down to a local networking event and booked themselves on. As expected, they pounced on me as soon as I arrived, and made sure that we’d have 10 minutes together (part of this networking meeting format is 3, 10 minute appointments).

So the time came for our 10 minute chat, and sure enough, before I’d even had chance to speak they launched into their well rehearsed pitch. They told me all about the background of their service, and what a great opportunity they had for me. This went on for another 9 minutes. Only at that point, when they asked what I thought, is when I managed to get to speak. What I told them is that we’d already done exactly what they were offering to help with (it’s a one time thing) a couple of years ago. If their first question had been “Have you heard of…”, even before we’d met, it would have saved us both a lot of wasted time and effort.

So there are a couple of lessons here. Firstly, if you are actively going to target someone, do your homework about them and make sure they actually need what you’re offering. And secondly (and this applies to so many situations), really listen to people and ask them questions. Only then will you find out more about them, their circumstances, and if you can actually help them.



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