NEVER do this

I take a lot of pride in being a sales person.

I’ve trained lots of people who go on to make great money by helping prospective clients understand how their life/business will be better by working with the team.

The sales profession already has a PR problem with the rest of the world, and that’s why I’m especially incensed when I see someone do it so poorly.

And that brings me to this week’s rant.

Here’s the situation. I’m on the clock for the marketing company as a sales person. A meeting pops up on the calendar for later in the afternoon. It’s a app company that looks like its going toe to toe with Doordash, but it has something about “making food free for the world” which sounds a bit like Star Trek hypernaivety, but ok; let’s see what it’s about.

The call starts, and the guy pretty much starts by asking, “Is it ok if I screenshare a bit?”

And let’s take a moment here. Because this is a huge red flag to me, and I’m not sure most people understand why.

I haven’t had a single person who asked to screenshare to me, the sales person, and have it go well. Not a single time in the entire history of the world where screensharing is a possibility.

So, when this guy asked to screenshare, my red flag alert goes wild.

I say, “Let’s hold off on that. We could look at your screen for the whole time, have fun, and I still won’t understand whether or not we’d be able to help you, so how about I ask you a bunch of questions so I can get what you’re looking to do in the next 6 months or so, and then I’ll be in a better position to help you out. Sound good?”

He reluctantly agreed and we moved on.

I asked him what the app is all about.

He tells me that it’s an advertising platform where users can watch ads and get direct benefits in terms of free food at participating restaurants. “15 minutes of watching adds is the equivalent of a burrito at Chipotle!”

Now I know how to measure time in burritos.

And then it clicks. I understand what’s going on.

I ask him, “Are you here to have us help you guys get the word out about the app, or are you here to ask us to get all our marketing clients to advertise on your app?”

He waffled a bit about looking for ways to work together to increase visibility for the app, but yeah it’s 99% that he wants us to get all our clients to advertise on their platform.

This is where I got mad.

He’s taking a slot from my calendar that could have gone to a real business owner who needs help marketing their business so he can pay for his daughter’s surgery. Or put more money into the college fund. Or any number of noble reasons you’d want to have more business.

Instead, this sales guy is stealing a slot from a fellow sales guy in an effort to backdoor his way into making a business to business deal.

Look, man. If you don’t have the mettle to call the owner directly, then there’s no way in hell I’m doing your work for you.

I told him he was wasting both our time, and that it’s a bad strategy.

He then proceeded to double down and continue the pitch.

I cut him off mid sentence and said I’m ending the call.

The whole meeting took 12 minutes and we were scheduled for 45. So I saved myself 30 minutes or so.

But dang.

Here’s the lesson. If you are a sales person doing outbound sales. Never go through the sales department of the company you’re trying to pitch. It’s a waste of time. It’s like a pirate with no code of honor amongst thieves.

NEVER pitch the sales team.

You’ll only embarrass yourself & besmirch our reputation even more than it is already.

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